Monday 30 January 2012

This weekend I'll be at ... SFX WEEKENDER

SFX Weekender 3 comes to Prestatyn this weekend and I'm delighted to be on their list of attending Guests with my partner David J Howe.

Also there, Anthony Head, Colin Baker, Sylvestor McCoy, Brian Blessed, and many more ...
For further details check out the line-up below.

My schedule so far includes the following :
  • Friday 12 midday Signing copies of 'Zombies in New York and Other Bloody Jottings' at the Forbidden Planet table.
  • Friday 5pm 'How Do You Put the Punk Into Steampunk?' Panel
  • Saturday 11am 'What is Urban Fantasy?' Panel
  • Saturday 12 midday Signing copies of 'Vampire Gene Series' at the Murky Depths Table with Raven Dane and David J Howe
  • Saturday 3pm 'We're all doomed! Is the path to humanity's salvation revealed in science fiction?'
    The rest of the weekend you'll find me in the Dealer's room with Murky Depths and Telos or perhaps in the bar! See you there!

    Time: ALL WEEKEND Date: 2nd-5th February
    Address: Pontins Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park,Central Beach, Barkby Avenue, Prestatyn, Denbigshire,
    North Wales, LL19 7LA

    For more information visit: SFX Weekender 3.

    Saturday 28 January 2012

    Hersham Books Five Story Anthology

    Hersham Books have recently announced their line-up for their latest five Story Anthology provisionally titled 'Siblings'.

    The line-up is :

    Stuart Hughes, Sam Stone, Richard Farren Barber, Sara Jayne Townsend
    & Simon Kurt Unsworth.

    For more information on this on other titles publsihed by Hersham please go HERE.

    Sunday 22 January 2012

    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

    I have recently discovered yet another case of pirating of my books. This time 'Futile Flame' but thanks to the network of writer Jacqueline George I discovered the infringement and the way to deal with it.

    It seems there is a law now The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) which allows the author to post a legal document that serves notice to the website and they have to remove the content immediately.

    The guilty party this time was but they are upfront about the DMCA and thanks to erotic romance author Cari Silverwood, who provided me with the template of the DMCA to help me remove my books from the site, I now know how to go about this. I have therefore submitted the DMCA to Ebookr and I am expecting the books to be removed immediately.

    If you are an author and have found your works illegally on any site then you can email me for the template and I'll point you in the right direction.


    Tuesday 17 January 2012

    Hammer Out Book of Ghosts

    The Hammer Out Books of Ghost Stories is a collection of short stories published in aid of HAMMER OUT.

    This fabulous new collection is available NOW from Fantom Films and all proceeds go to the charity Hammer Out

    Foreword by Tracey Childs

    Immortal Monster by Sam Stone
    The Widow and the Deserter by Alex Barrett
    Sleeping Lions by Niall Boyce
    Orbyting by Jan Edwards
    The Noise from the Flat Upstairs by S.E. Branson
    Tower Song by Richard Howard
    Deadline by Paul W.T. Ballard
    The Attic Nursery by Raven Dane
    Chillers and Breathers by Sam Stone
    We Attract that which we Fear the Most by Louise Jameson
    Last Rites by Simon Guerrier

    For Further information about the charity and to purchase copies please cheack out the Fantom Films website.

    Monday 16 January 2012

    Appearances for 2012 so far ...

    SFX WEEKENDER 3, Prestatyn, North Wales. 2nd-5th February 2011
    Sam Stone and David J Howe are amongst the guests appearing at this event.

    Time: ALL WEEKEND Date: 2nd-5th February
    Address: Pontins Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park,Central Beach, Barkby Avenue, Prestatyn, Denbigshire,
    North Wales, LL19 7LA

    For more information visit: SFX WEEKENDER

    WATERSTONES, Wigan, 18th February 2012.

    Sam Stone will be signing copies of 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 18th February 2012.
    6 The Grand Arcade, Wigan, WN1 1BH

    All purchases include a choice of signed photograph or badges. 

    GALAXYFEST 2012, Colorado Springs, USA, 24th-26th Feb 2012.

    Sam Stone and David J Howe will be appearing as International Author Guests of Honor with Kevin J Anderson, Frazer Hines and many more writer guests and celebrities.

    Time: ALL Weekend. Panels, Interviews, Creative Writing Workshop.

    Address: Antlers Hilton, 4 South Cascade, Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1695, USA.

    WATERSTONES, Arndale Centre, Manchester, 10th March 2012.

    Sam Stone will be signing copies of 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 10th March 2012.
    Arndale Centre, Manchester, M4 3AQ

    All purchases include a choice of signed photograph or badges.  

    WHITBY GOTHIC WEEKEND, Whitby, 27th-29th April 2012

    Sam Stone and David J Howe will be appearing at the Rifle Club, Whitby during the Gothic Weekend. Copies of all books will be available to purchase with free signed autographs.

    Address : Rifle Club, West Cliff Sports Ground, Crescent Avenue, Whitby, North Yorkshire.
    YO21 3EW.
    Time: TBA

    MCM EXPO, London, 25th-27th May 2012.

    Sam Stone and David Howe will be author guests on The Victorian Steampunk Expedition Stand at MCM EXPO. Copies of all the books will be on sale with free autographs. Signed photos also available.

    Address: ExCel Exhibition Centre, 1 Western Gateway  London E16 1XL. 
    Time: TBA

    MISCELLARIUM 2012, Sunderland, 11th-12th August 2012

    Sam Stone and David J Howe join the line up of guests at the first ever Miscellarium Convention to take part in panels, talks, signings and readings.

    To book and for further information: Miscellarium 2012

    Address: Seaburn Centre, Sunderland, SR6 8AA,
    Time: All Weekend.

    BRITCON MN, 30th August to 2nd September 2012, Minnesota, USA

    Sam Stone and David J Howe will be appearing as Author Guests of Honor, Frazer Hines and many more writer guests and celebrities from the UK.

    To book and for further information contact BRITCON

    Time: ALL Weekend. Panels, Interviews, Creative Writing Workshop.

    Address: Hilton Minneapolis Bloomington, 3900 American Blvd West, Bloomington, Minnesota, United States 55437

    Sunday 15 January 2012

    Miscellarium 2012

    I'm very pleased to announce that I will be a guest at Miscellarium 2012 with my partner David J Howe. Other writer guests on the list so far are Paul Magrs and George Mann.

    For further information of this exciting convention please following this link : Miscellarium 2012

    More information and updates on this to follow.

    Tuesday 10 January 2012

    Authorhouse: Abusing the rights of authors

    Just before Christmas I learnt that a self-publishing company called Authorhouse were infringing the copyright of my first novel.

    The novel was originally published with them in January 2007 as Gabriele Caccini however I believe that the contract I signed meant that I retained all rights and only had to give them a month's notice in order to remove the book from sale.

    Almost five years later I am still fighting that battle.

    Authorhouse charge extortionate amounts of money to provide what they claim is a professional service to allow authors to publish and promote their own books. Knowing nothing of the industry at that time I fell foul of their advertising and hype and chose to go down the self-publishing route with them. I won't go into this process except to say that it was very, very expensive and the serviceI received was never as good as they promised it would be.

    Fortunately though, in 2008, The House of Murky Depths took up the Vampire Gene series and my self-publishing days were over. All should have been fine except that Authorhouse continued to sell the book despite my requests that they cease. How do I know? Well, they sent me royalties.

    You might think that at this time I would have nothing to complain about - I was receiving the royalties after all - but I realised by then that Authorhouse was taking a massive cut of the income whereas I, the person who had paid for everything in the first place and taken all the risks, was earning a measly 86 pence a book. They were charging £13 a copy, so that's a royalty of around 6.5% of the cover price. I went to their website, only to learn that my book was still active, despite my telling them to remove it. The book was still available through Amazon and other websites and after many letters, as well as phone calls to their head office in the USA, Authorhouse eventually agreed to remove the book from sale.

    Authorhouse operates as a print on demand (POD) service. There was no stock. All books ordered were printed and sent as they were ordered. So it was clear to me that this would mean that NO MORE books would be printed or sold because I had given them notice in early 2008 that they were not allowed to sell the book from July 2008 onwards.

    By late 2009 however the book was still being sold, and I was still getting royalty statements and cheques from them for one or two copies a time. 

    When I asked them why the book was still showing as available on Amazon, the excuse they gave me was that they had no control what Amazon offered. And, they said, Amazon probably had stock of the book. Well - as I said earlier - I knew this was probably untrue as the book was POD only.

    I let it go though because finally the royalty cheques stopped coming and the Authorhouse website now said the book was unavailable.

    You can imagine my shock when I logged into my Amazon account only to be offered the kindle version of my own book. Authorhouse - no longer under any contract with me - had taken it upon themselves to create an ebook.

    Since then, and after phoning them several times with absolutely no response, I resorted to going straight to Amazon with the complaint.

    This is where my tale takes a happy turn. Amazon have just confirmed that the listing for Gabriele Caccini will be removed from their site. That they respect the intellectual property of authors and that the information I provided has proved to them that this is in fact an infringement of my rights as the author.

    So, the moral of this tale is ...

    Self-publishing is never a good idea - but a worse one if you get involved with a company like Authorhouse who don't respect your rights and will continue to sell your works even when you instruct them not to.

    Contact Amazon if you do have an issue and make sure you provide all the evidence you can to prove you are right. But ultimately I'd recommend staying away from self-publishing companies who charge high prices and make promises that they can't keep. There is a 'rule' that in publishing - and by that I mean 'proper' publishing - the money only goes in one direction ... TO THE AUTHOR. Remember that only reputable publishers can get your books in bookstores and stocked by distributors.

    Tuesday 3 January 2012

    People and Places: The Last Few Years

    As a new year starts I have been reflecting as always on everything that has occurred during the last one. I found myself flicking through my picture albums and was truly surprised at how many people I've met over the last few years. For that reason I thought it might be nice to collate some of those memories in this one blog.

    Tanith Lee, Sam Stone, David Howe
    In 2008 I met my icon, Tanith Lee, for the first time at EasterCon in London. Tanith has been a huge influence on my work and made me realise how diverse you can be as a writer. She also read Killing Kiss and gave me some fantastic feedback and a blurb for the cover. I can tell you I felt completely unworthy! Since then, I've only come into physical contact with Tanith once more, at World Horror Con in 2010. She greeted me like an old friend and I was privileged to spend some more time with her again at the event. She's a lovely, talented lady and continues to be an inspiration to me. This picture was taken at the NewCon Press Launch of The Bitten Word. My story, Fool's Gold was in this collection and later went on to win the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction. I am still very proud of the story and was delighted that it won the award. The story was reprinted in my collection, Zombies in New York and Other Bloody Jottings by Telos Publishing in February 2011.

    David, Sam, Frazer - Santa Monica Pier
    In February 2009 I went to the Gallifrey Convention in Los Angeles for the first time with my partner David Howe. As one of the leading experts on Doctor Who, David was a guest at the convention and it meant that we were mixing in some very interesting circles. That year I met Gary Russell, script editor on the series, for the first time as well as the lovely Phil Ford, writer and producer of Sarah Jane Adventures. Also I met someone who was to become extremely important in our lives: Frazer Hines. Frazer arrived on a different plane to us but I first spotted him on the bus as we were collected to be taken to the hotel. Later we started talking in the bar, with Wendy Padbury, and the rest, as they say, is history. I don't want to go into the whole story of how David, Frazer and I became friends - but it started at Gallifrey and we ended up spending the rest of the trip sight-seeing together. We've been firm friends ever since. I would even say that Frazer feels like family to us.

    Back: Emily (with a bear behind).
    Front: Roy, Sam, Frazer
    That same trip, however, Frazer invited us to lunch with Roy Dotrice and we went out to meet him at a lovely restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard. During the lunch we mentioned we were sight-seeing and Roy suggested we have a look at La Brea Tar Pits. Then we all went off to the Tar Pits and Roy came with us. 

    We had a lovely afternoon and at the end of it Roy bought me, and our American Events Coordinator, Emily Danyel, a keepsake: a toy mammoth. I have it in my kitchen and I call it Roy as a tribute to that day. I hope the real Roy doesn't mind! I came away from the experience with some ideas for a story, which later evolved into Tar and can be found in my collection.

    Raven Dane, Sam and David
    Back in 2007 I met Raven Dane. We had been MySpace and Facebook friends before we met. Raven is a vampire/horror writer who has recently diversified into steampunk and comedy fantasy which she executes with terrific humour and flair. She and I have become very close since then and our mutual experiences in the publishing industry have consolidated that friendship even more this year. I was shocked to realise that I didn't have many pictures with Raven considering how much I see her at various events - but here is one of my favourites of us at the FantasyCon Banquet 2010 in Nottingham. I was shortlisted for the Best Novel Award for my second Vampire Gene novel Futile Flame. (Stephen King was also in the line-up that year with his novel Under the Dome.)

    Simon Clark, Storm Constantine and Sam
    Sam with Adam Nevill
    I had attended FantasyCon since 2007 and there are a few very decent people I'd like to namecheck. In no particular order: Debbie Bennett, Jan Edwards, Peter Coleborn, Jenny and Pat Barber, Steve Tribe, Vicky and Tim Stock, Ian Whates and Ian Watson (NewCon Press), the divine Anne Sudworth, Storm Constantine, Simon Clark, Steve Savile, Robert Sherman, Adam Nevill, Chaz Brenchley, Steve Duffy, Mark Chadbourn, Paul Cornell, Neil Gaiman, Kim and Del Lakin-Smith, Steve Lockley, James Barclay, Nicholas Royle, Freda Warrington, Pat Cadigan, Christopher Fowler, Paul Campbell, Johnny Mains, Roy Gray, Peter Tennant, Colin Harvey (RIP), Lee Thompson, Guy Adams, Michael Marshall-Smith, Adam Greenwood, Rob MacKellar, Charles Rudkin, and many more.

    In fact it was a fateful meeting at FantasyCon 2007 that led me to my current publisher Terry Martin, while he was there promoting his magazine Murky Depths. I met Terry and his gorgeous wife, Liz and we struck up an immediate friendship. I saw them again the following Easter at EasterCon. By then I knew that I was a finalist for an important American Independent Press Award. When I won the Silver Award for Best Horror Novel with ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards, Terry launched a new book imprint, The House of Murky Depths, and I signed my first three book deal. Killing Kiss was relaunched in September 2008 at FantasyCon and the series has gone from strength to strength under Terry's guidance.
    Sam, Paul Cornell, Terry and Liz Martin (NewCon 4)

    Left to right (Back Row): Alan Walsh, Ed Comstock,
    Tommy Knight, David Howe, Ben Adams, Kim Pfiefer-Adams,
    Jocelyn Thomas, Zoe Pfiefer, Jen Comstock, Sam Stone.
    (Front Row) Frazer Hines, Jarrod Cooper.
    A lot of my most interesting encounters have occurred through the Doctor Who world that David introduced me to. Over the years I've made some terrific and genuine friends who live in the United States as well as those who live in the UK. I was privileged to be invited to sing at the wedding of our dear friends Ben and Kim Adams, which took place at the Gallifrey Convention in 2010. Frazer Hines gave the bride away (reluctantly), David was Best Man and I was Maid of Honour. Also in the wedding party was the lovely Tommy Knight (Luke, Sarah Jane Adventures) who was the ring bearer if memory serves. Tommy and his mother Sandy were lovely people and they took to the whole experience of Gallifrey with enthusiasm. All of the people in this list I feel I can count as real friends. We may not see each other more than once a year, but I know they would be there for David and I if we needed them. Adding to this ever growing list are two more two dear friends, Tony and Jane Kenealy. The Gallifrey weekend is incredibly short but having dinner with Tony and Jane on the Sunday evening has become something of a tradition. I'll miss that this year because, due to other commitments, we can't make it to Los Angeles.

    Steve Roberts, Frazer Hines
    and Sue Cowley
    Of course I can't mention Doctor Who without also giving a namecheck to some other very important people. Steve Roberts, Sue Cowley and Tony Lee. Steve and Sue were David's friends long before I came on the scene. Until recently they both worked for the BBC. Steve is a key member of the team who works on and restores all the Doctor Who DVD releases. I met them in 2008 I think, when I first joined David at the Tavisode pub meetings in London. These meetings occur once a month. Unfortunately we don't live there anymore and so don't get to see the crowd as often as we would like.

    Larry Niven and Sam
    At the 2011 Gallifrey a man came over to see David and I at our table in the dealers room and was asking me loads of questions about my work. Me being me, I didn't realise I was talking about my books to someone as important in the Science Fiction and Fantasy world as Larry Niven. In fact he was so interested in my work that I was really shocked when I realised who he was. What a gentleman and a lovely man. I think he rather enjoyed the cuddles and kisses I gave him that day. But then so did I!

    Sam and Alan Moore
    At Eastercon 2009 there were many very interesting meetings. The first, and the funniest, was when we left my daughter, Linzi, sitting on a sofa in the lounge drawing while we went off somewhere. When we came back she was sitting next to this man with dark hair and he was wading through Linzi's sketch pad with a great deal of interest. My first thought was, 'Oh, who's this guy chatting her up?' Linzi was only 16 at the time. We all sat around the sofa, pulling up various chairs as Terry and Liz Martin joined us. The man was telling Linzi that her art was really good and she was graciously accepting the compliments. Then, a woman came over with a copy of V for Vendetta and asked the man to sign it. At that moment, Linzi's eyes fell onto his name badge. It was David Lloyd. The poor girl flushed bright red and hurriedly collected her sketch pads, pushing them into her bag out of sight. I have to confess it took me even longer to realise what was happening but she was really embarrassed about him looking at her art. 'Oh Mum,' she said to me later - clearly mortified - 'I can't believe David Lloyd was looking at my crap art!' Clearly he didn't think it was crap, but Linzi had believed he was merely being polite. We spent the evening with David after that and I quickly learnt that he wasn't the type to just be polite about anything! It was a very fun conversation we had about sex and sexism - and women - I can tell you! I later briefly met the amazing Alan Moore at NewCon 5 in Northampton. That was in October 2010. He was a very nice man, friendly and affable - I loved his shoes!

    Lady Elsie, David, Linzi
    Also at EasterCon 2009 we met the Victorian Steampunk Society founders, John Naylor and Karen Grover, also known as Major Tinker and Lady Elsie. I'm not sure that David will appreciate me telling this story, but I'm going to anyway. In the dealers room I left David standing at a table, while I wandered off to talk to someone. At that moment, Lady Elsie moved into the place beside him that I'd occupied. At the time Lady Elsie and I both had our hair the same length, with a reddish under-colour, beneath the blonde. Lady Elsie was wearing black and red and a corset. I guess you can see where this is going now ... Through David's peripheral vision he thought I was still beside him. He reached out, put his arm around Lady Elsie's waist and, I believe, squeezed her bottom for good measure. You can imagine his face when he turned to see a shocked woman beside him that wasn't me. A few minutes later, David found me, red-faced he insisted I came with him to see someone. And this was the first time I met Lady Elsie. We were dressed and looked so similar at the time that she instantly forgave David for groping her and we had a good laugh about it.
    Raygun, Robert Rankin, Linzi, Sam
    After that I was invited to be a guest at the 2010 Steampunk convention in Lincoln, The Asylum, which Karen and John run. I went along with Linzi and we had a fantastic weekend. I launched my novel Demon Dance there to great success and started to get to know Karen and John a little better. At this event I also met one of my other writing icons, Robert Rankin and his wife Rachel (AKA Lady Raygun). Linzi has been an ardent follower of his work for years and she was so excited and pleased to meet Robert. Over the course of the weekend we got to know him and Raygun a little bit and I really enjoyed their company. It's amazing how many friendships are forged at conventions.

    I could talk more, with anecdotes and stories of my adventures, but I think I'll just add a few of my favourite pictures of people I've met. It's been an exciting time and I have high hopes for 2012.

    Sam with the lovely - and tall -
    Spencer Wilding
    Sam and comics writer Tony Lee 
    Hammer actresses Martine Beswick and Caroline Munro
    with David

    Sam and Hammer actor Shane Bryant
    Caroline Munro, Sam, Vera Day, David, Emily Booth and Linzi      

    I finally met my long-time Facebook/Myspace pal, J R Le Mar, in
    Los Angeles in 2009. This pic was taken at Gallifrey in 2010

    Sam with Steve Roberts
    Robert Shearman and Sam
    at FantasyCon 2008 

    The mighty Noel Fielding and Sam Stone
    at Waterstones, Arndale Centre 2011