I am a bad writer.
No! Wait, person who only came by to try a book! Come ba-
Another one bites the dust.
Let me amend.
I hope I’m all right at this writing thing. However, I am bad at behaviours which a writer should otherwise be displaying. For example, this website. I am supposed to use this website (and Facebook, and Twitter, and wherever else the massed ranks of humanity send their digital avatars to frolic) to find new and interesting ways to say things along the lines of:
BUY MY BOOK BUY MY BOOK LOOK A BOOK IT IS A BOOK YOU LIKE TO BOOK SO BOOK THIS BOOKY BOOK BOOK!
I’m supposed to do this at least once a day.
I really, really suck at it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it’s the very last thing that works on me as a book buyer. A guaranteed way to make sure that you do not manage to sell me your book is to suggest fifteen thousand times that I buy your book, or to try and make me read eleventy-million reviews of it, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, this all clearly works for lots of people. I’m not criticising. It just doesn’t work on me – has the opposite effect, in fact. I like to know how the writers I follow are doing, and obviously expect them to cover it in the social mediaz, but as soon as it becomes a sales platform for them I switch off.
Because I don’t respond well to that sort of thing, I get a bit awkward and shuffly when it’s time for me to try and promote something of my own. I can even go the other way, and spend months barely mentioning that I’ve written books at all, as though it’s a dirty habit best kept to myself.
To compensate, especially as new writing things are about to start happening, here is a post to remind people that I write stories. Some of them are in books with lots of other stories, and because I’ve been doing this for a while the older stuff is increasingly out of print. The ‘Published Works’ link underneath the banner at the top of this page takes you to the list of books that I think are still available to buy. At the very top of the page you can click the ‘Bibliography’ link and see everything I’ve had published even if you cannot buy it in a shop today, if that is a thing that would make you feel happy.
I’ve no idea why it would, but it’s not my place to judge you.
A few of my stories are whole books all by themselves. I’ll walk you through them, and you can decide if any pique your interest. Clicking through the covers will take you to your local Amazon. Paperbacks are also available at other online bookstores, but most of the ebook versions are currently only on Kindle. Over the next month or two they’ll start turning up in other ebook stores too.
I wrote Cuckoo decades ago, when I was twelve probably, so long ago that I barely remember how it came to be. It was published by different publishers, then a few years ago I published it myself in a slightly updated version that smoothed out some ‘first novel’ issues that probably didn’t irk anyone but me.
Cuckoo is a little bit sci-fi, a little bit horror, and a little bit thriller. It’s a little bit about what identity means, and quite a lot about running around being terrified because someone is totally screwing around with your whole life and is definitely going to get you (whoever the hell they are).
Because it was my first novel I loves it. It could be discovered crouched atop a pile of foetid human corpses, feasting on the soft bits, and I would still love it. If you do not love it, even while it has a faceful of decomposing flesh in its mouth, then you and I cannot be friends anymore.
Kiss it on its gore-crusted lips or its over between us.
Thy Fearful Symmetry was, as you have probably assessed for yourselves using your counting skills, my second novel. I shall stop counting things now. You can count the things for yourselves.
Where Cuckoo is small and intimate and wants to snog you right on the mouth even though you’ve only just met and it hasn’t brushed its filthy teeth yet, Thy Fearful Symmetry is big, being concerned as it is with the ending of the whole world. If you like your novels post-apocalyptic then… well, actually, only the epilogue is going to float your boat. This story is neither pre nor post apocalyptic. It is actually apocalyptic, from start to finish. It’s a little bit about faith, and quite a lot about just trying to survive the unsurvivable. It’s set in Glasgow, because not enough apocalyptic stories are.
I like Glasgow. But I liked setting it on fire even more.
A word of warning though. If the Bible is your favourite book, and you don’t like it when people take stuff from your favourite book and mess around with it and put it in different books in ways that make you feel all squirmy and horrid then don’t buy this book. It has angels in it, and God, and demons. None of them are doing the things that you would prefer them to.
Everybody else, fire in with impunity.
Craven Place has a really long sort of history. It’s based on a movie script I co-wrote around the time that Cuckoo was published, which was shot in North Wales but never made it through post-production to an actual release. It’s a ghost story and it’s a mystery/detective story, which is a very English sort of hybrid genre I think, going back to The Hound Of The Baskervilles and beyond.
This novel is also absolute marmite. More people hate this book than anything else I’ve written, partly because it starts off as one sort of story and ends up as another, and books aren’t supposed to do that anymore. Readers think it’s rude.
However, more people also like this book than almost any other I’ve written, perhaps because it appeals to mystery readers as well as the horror mob. It is a true thing that I have no evidence for that there are more mystery readers alive on this planet than horror readers. NO. EVIDENCE. AT. ALL. If I were to sit down and plan how to have a successful writing career, I would definitely write mystery novels.
There’s an author, a psychic, a vagrant, and a hack in it. And some impossible murders. And a ghost. Maybe. Welcome to Craven Place…
The Flesh Market is my most recent full length novel, and so is definitely my favourite. That’s how it works. My favourite thing I’ve written, save for the thing that I am currently writing (which until the moment it’s finished is definitely the best book ever written, ever, in the whole of recorded history), is always the most recent thing I’ve written. It’s about obsession and addiction a little bit, and about the undead and Edinburgh’s 19th century Anatomy Wars an awful lot more.
It’s almost the true story of Scotland’s most notorious serial killers Williams Burke and Hare, and Doctor Robert Knox who bought the bodies, except for the bits with the undead. They probably didn’t happen in actual history, but once you’ve read the book you will swear blind that they did.
The book can be summed up by this ditty from Scottish antiquity, which I made up in my English brain but which is definitely all ancient and Scottish and stuff.
“Doon the wynds an’ up the streets, where revenants sought souls tae eat, the Butcher called for twitching meat an’ Burke an’ Hare did answer.”
Those are all full length novels. For those with an appetite for shorter, sharper little books, I also wrote the following pulp novellas.
Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow is actually the last of five novellas all featuring the abhorrent antihero Hiram Grange. They’re massive fun, if you’ve an appetite for very gruesome comic adventuring. Hiram is an absolute degenerate, the last person on Earth that you want standing with a firearm between you and the abominations of the abyss. He’d probably be blind drunk or as high as a kite for a start, which would make the way he was waving that Webley about incredibly worrying.
Each of the Hiram books stand alone, but they do form a bit of a sequence which my offering was the conclusion of. You won’t be lost if you dive in without reading the others, but you’ll know you’re reading the climax of something and not the opening volume. The publisher offers all five paperbacks as a splendid bundle for the completists. The ebooks are grand, but the paperbacks are particularly lovely, and make it far easier to enjoy the interior art from Malcolm McClinton.
My story features a mysterious gun-toting woman, old gods, the city of Krakow, and quite possibly a dragon.
Dragons are cool.
Finally, and most recently, we come to The Flesh Remembers, which introduces you to hack reporter Dexter Lomax just as he experiences what could best be described as a ‘run of bad luck’ in Newcastle. As Vincent Chong’s glorious cover subtly hints, there may be aliens, other worlds, and skinned corpses in it…
If you’ve ever been fond of Kolchak the Night Stalker, The X-Files, or the purplish horrors of H.P. Lovecraft, then The Flesh Remembers is probably going to make you bounce up and down with glee.
There are two more Dexter Lomax tales still to come, eagerly awaited by my
readers, reader, probably nobody at all, but that’s for later this year.
At the moment, unlike the other books, The Flesh Remembers is a Kindle exclusive. If you own such a device, click through and dive in.
There you go. I have shoved my books at your face and rubbed them on your greasy skin whether you wanted me to or not.
The proper writers will definitely let me back in the club now.