Saturday, 15 October 2016


I'm mostly known for writing scary supernatural stuff and -- these days -- tough, hard-bitten crime novels as well. But, as Jack Bristow said in the TV show Alias, 'no person is just one thing.' Which means that I'll occasionally come out with a much gentler supernatural tale than is my norm. One of them is free on Amazon this weekend, and it's a story that has its own story behind it.
I'd already visited Japan once before, the main island of Honshu, starting at Yokohama, and then taking in Tokyo, Kyoto, and a lot of points in between, Mount Fuji included. And I'd already written stories set in those locations.
But back in 2005, the opportunity arose to visit Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island. And it turned out to be a completely different deal from its far bigger sister. Tropical, quite like Hawaii, with palm trees and golden beaches. Extremely volcanic too, with geysers and fantastical pumice sculptures along some shorelines where flowing lava had hit the ocean and had formed weird outlines as the water cooled it. But Kyushu is also the historic and spiritual home of the Shinto religion, the place where the Japanese gods are supposed to have settled when they came down to our world, and so the place is full of the most fascinating shrines and temples too, some of them in striking locations. On beaches, next to waterfalls, even in a cave beside the sea. What inspiration for a writer of imaginative fiction! By the time my ten day trip was over, I already had a story set there burning a big hole inside me.
It was a grueling journey back, 22 hours, involving three planes and a long connecting coach trip. Once home -- naturally -- I collapsed into bed. But I only stayed there for about three hours. Hauled myself up, fixed myself a cup of coffee, went straight to my laptop and started work on 'HANAKO FROM MIYAZAKI.' I completed it in just two days. It first appeared in CD magazine the following year, but now it is available as an eBook, along with several other of my gentler and more wistful tales. So ... where do I get my ideas from? Now you know.

Monday, 1 August 2016


E-books are wonderful things, and I've been publishing my own -- both new fiction and reprints -- for a good few years now. But a lot of people still prefer a paperback, the feel of it, the solidity of it. And the sad fact is that when it comes to my Raine's Landing supernatural thrillers, there've been no hard copy versions of the last three novels. They have only been available to readers digitally.

Until now.

I'm very pleased to be able to announce that I have finally put that right, and there is now a fine-looking trade paperback of every last Raine's Landing novel save the second one. Let's deal firstly with the three books that are having their first outing in this style.

DEADLY VIOLET sees a beggar girl getting hold of an extremely powerful magic jewel. When she begins using it, the boundaries of reality begin to crumble and break down. Ross and Cassie and the rest are suddenly confronted with bizarre monsters roaming the streets ... and that's just for starters. As the fabric of existence continues to come apart, everything becomes considerably more frightening . And the only way to stop it is for Ross and Cass to set off on the strangest journey of their lives.

In SPEAK OF THE DEVIL, the town's major adepts start being attacked  by mysterious cloaked, hooded men. And when Ross and Cass investigate, they begin to uncover the horrifying truth. It's people from inside the town who are responsible for this ... some of Raine's Landing's own citizens have turned  to Devil-worship. They plan to deliver the whole of the Landing over to the forces of Hell. And to ensure this happens, demons have already arrived in the town, disguised as human beings.

And in WITCH HUNTER, the sixth and latest in the series, an old-time witch from back before the time the Salem witches came returns to life and re-visits Raine's Landing, bringing her own lethal brand of magic with her. But that's not the biggest problem Ross and Cassie have to face. The man who killed that witch is also back, and he's considerably more powerful than her, since he is in the service of a very ancient being whose one desire is to destroy the Universe itself.

As for the first Raine's Landing novel -- DARK RAIN -- and the third -- MIDNIGHT'S ANGELS -- there have been paperback versions of both titles  in the past, but they are now also available in this  smart new format.

There's a link to the page for all five novels here.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


It's been a good long while since I have blogged about anything except my own fiction. And -- okay -- there has been quite a bit to talk about in that regard. But I sometimes do do other things than write. I even manage to snag the occasional vacation. And Louise and I are just back from ten days in the Italian Alps, beside Lake Garda. It was scorching hot. The food ranged from pretty good to utterly fantastic. The views were amazing, and this has to count as the first time that either of us have regularly swum in a freshwater lake.

But -- using local transport and the excellent bus boats -- we managed to visit a good few other towns as well than Desenzano (the one that we were staying in).

Here's the tiny but beautiful Garda:

Here is Sirmione, out on a long peninsula that juts into the lake:

One of the favorite towns we visited was Bardolino, home of the world famous wine of the same name. A charming, airy place with very much a Venetian feel to its architecture.

Another quite small town here, but very historic, Lazise:

And last but not least, we spent a great afternoon in the famous and very beautiful city of Verona:

Hope that you enjoyed these photos. Until next time, ciao!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


If there's one thing I love to write, it's stories with a sting in the tail, Roald Dahl-type stories where the last line knocks the reader sideways. I've written quite a number of them down the years, but honestly believe The Woman in Brown to be my very best, so far at least. It's a ghostly mystery tale that starts in London in the late 1950's and then moves on to the present day. I'm not going to tell you any more than that. But Linda Landrigan, the editor of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, snapped it up the moment that she read it. And now, a year on from its publication in that magazine, it's available on Kindle.

Postcards from Terri goes back much further than that. A short novel of slightly over 32,000 words, it was first published in 2004 by the respected indie publisher Sarob Press. It resurfaced in 2007 in my Pendragon Press collection 'No-Man and Other Tales,' and appeared in the States in 2010 in my Dark Regions Press collection 'Our Lady of the Shadows.' It's a tale about two friends who have led very different lives since leaving college. Steve Corlingsten's existence hasn't turned out well ... he is divorced, has a job he hates, and life has generally proved to be a massive disappointment. Whereas Terri Campion has traveled the world, lived in various countries, had affairs with rich and famous men, and lived out her existence to the fullest. And the novel starts with these two very different people being reunited. There is just one problem. Terri's dead. She was killed in a car crash a few days back, and is appearing to Steve as a ghost.

Now Postcards from Terri is available on Kindle too.

Thursday, 23 June 2016


I've been dealing with publishers since 1987, when my first novel -- the Bram Stoker shortlisted The Harvest Bride -- originally appeared from Tor Books in the States and then from Headline in the UK (my editor was the famed Jo Fletcher in the latter case). I've sat in their offices discussing my work. I've gone out on drinking sessions with them, occasionally to the severe detriment of my health. And they've been nice enough to buy me lunch or dinner on a number of occasions. I've always found them to be pleasant enough people. They've done their very best to present my novels well and to promote them. Which is not to say that my relationships with these guys haven't had their ups and downs. But in nearly thirty years, I would never, ever once have believed I might become a publisher myself one day (I'm talking proper, solid books, not e-ones).

Except that now it's happened. Blow me down. Above is the cover of the premiere novel from Raine Manor Publications, Raine Manor being the ancestral home of the craziest magician in my Raine's Landing series of fantasy novels.

Dark Rain -- the first of them -- originally appeared in 2008 from Eos/HarperCollins, introducing readers to a spellbound Massachusetts town inhabited by powerful wizards like Judge Samuel Levin, Woodard Raine, and Doctor Lehman Willets, but also by ordinary people armed with no magical powers but with boundless courage and resolve instead, like Ross Devries and Cassie Mallory, the heroes of the piece. The book garnered a lot of rave reviews and got me more fan emails than I've had in quite a while. But it only ever came out as a mass market paperback and, after 8 years, the only hard copy that you're likely to be able to get hold of is a battered secondhand one.

Only that now, there is this fine-looking trade paperback version , courtesy of RMP. And now that I have got the look and layout absolutely right, I will be releasing copies of the other novels in the series in the next couple of weeks,

You can find out more about this new edition of Dark Rain here.


I haven't done much in the way of blogging -- or anything else on social media -- for a good long while. Why? Because the work of writing novels has been eating me alive of late. I honestly believed that I would finish the sixth in my Raine's Landing series -- Witch Hunter (see below) -- by Xmas 2015. It had already been through seven or eight drafts, after all. But I started reading what I'd done a few days before the holiday break, and realized that I still wasn't satisfied with it. Christmas and New Year passed, and I started work again. And it took me three more very intensive drafts to get the story reading just the way it should. It was mentally fatiguing work, but well worth it to get Ross and Cassie's latest, greatest, and most heart-gripping adventure right.

And I was planning to take a long break after that, but ... what is it they say about no rest for the wicked? My second full-blown crime novel -- The Tribe, a follow up to 2014's The Desert Keeps Its Dead --  is due out later this year from Cemetery Dance Publications. And since there is a third installment in the story of my fictional detective, I realized I'd better get cracking and start writing it. Which is what I'm doing right now (I am on a break this afternoon), only stopping every so often to do some research on stuff like assault weaponry and helicopters (yes, you read that last word right).

But however much you try to hide behind your laptop, the world moves on regardless. The world of publishing especially. And so much has been going on the last few months, it is going to take me three whole postings to describe it all.

The first matter to deal with is the book above.  I've been writing short horror and dark fantasy stories set in the fictional south-coast English town of Birchiam-on-Sea for the past ten years. The first -- The Waiters -- appeared in Weird Tales. And since then, Birchiam stories have shown up in Black Static magazine, the Black Book of Horror, and top anthologies like The British Invasion. And now all of them have been collected together by Trevor Denyer, editor of the esteemed Midnight Street magazine. It's a truly wonderful-looking book, and there's even an introduction -- explaining the whole concept behind Birchaim -- by a certain T. Richards. Moon on Dark Water: The Birchiam Chronicles is available both as a Kindle and as a good old-fashioned paperback book.

Thursday, 14 April 2016


It's been 2 whole years since my last Raine's Landing novel was out, and it occurs to me that some people might have thought that I was finished with the series. But no, very far from it. Ross Devries, Cassie Mallory, and all the other host of characters remain close to my heart, as does the whole idea of an ordinary-looking Massachusetts town that's actually full of magic and is bound under a hex cast by a real witch who escaped from Salem.

But I've been working on my first couple of straight crime novels down the last 2 years -- the second one, 'The Tribe,' is due out from Cemetery Dance Publications in the next few months. A new and very adult horror novel is now with my agent. And my old pal at Dark Renaissance, Joe Morey, asked me to write a ghost novella for his series of them, Mr. Jakes (more news about that later, since the DR list is currently being moved to Dark Regions Press). And so I've been kept extremely busy.

But I was finally able to get my breath back in the Fall of last year, and immediately knew where I wanted to go as soon as I had some time on my hands. Back to Raine's Landing, obviously. I just love this series. And, from the responses I've had, people seem to love reading it too. I already know how it finishes up, and am determined to bring it to a proper conclusion. I'm not there yet, though. There are going to be several more episodes before the Grand Finale. But I think this sixth and latest book has to be one of the most gripping of them.

WITCH HUNTER is available exclusively on Amazon Kindle for the next few months. And I'll be starting work on the seventh novel very soon.

“But I am innocent, I tell you! I am not a witch!” 

“Well, we shall soon find out the truth of that. Prepare yourself for your ordeal.” 

Back in 1687, Verena Oakemont was put to death by the notorious witchfinder Thaddeus Firman. And – despite her protestations – she really was a witch, and a powerful one too, the daughter of a demon. 

Three centuries later, she’s escaped from Hell and returned to Raine’s Landing. Death has made her magic powers far stronger than ever, and it’s not merely the town that she wants to subdue. Her gaze is fixed upon the world beyond it. 

But that’s not the biggest problem Ross and Cassie have to face. Something even worse is coming in Verena’s wake, the servant of an ancient force that would destroy the Universe itself. And the only person who has any chance of standing in its way … is Cassie’s brand-new daughter, May. 

A vengeful witch. A brutal hunter. And a magically-empowered child. These are the ingredients for the most climactic Raine’s Landing adventure yet.