Sunday, 20 July 2014


Let me transport you back in time to the late 1990s. Remember those days? (And I really don't want to hear that you weren't even born then, smartarse!)

Pan Macmillan had a couple of years earlier published my second full-length novel, Night Feast, a great thick blockbuster of a horror tale involving some of the nastier gods of Ancient Egypt transmuted into human form, the plot spanning the decades from the Great Depression to the -- back then -- present day.

And they were within a couple of months of publishing my third one, again big and thick, but spanning continents rather than decades this time. It was called Hot Blood, and featured two different types of vampire, one good and the other extremely evil.

I'd checked all the edits. I'd read the final proofs. The cover was done, and I felt all ready to go ...

When Pan decided to cut their horror list almost altogether and the book got dropped (I kept the advance, you'll be glad to hear).

This was the start of the massive slump in horror publishing that happened around  that time. In fact, pretty well none of the major publishers were interested in even looking at that type of fiction for a good seven or eight years thereafter -- and believe me, my long suffering agent Leslie Gardner of Artellus really tried.

And when vampires did finally make a huge comeback -- well -- they weren't the types of vampires featured in my novel, not by an awfully long shot.

But now I'm very proud to say that, after 15 years or so, Hot Blood is finally to see print. Samhain Publishing -- the same guys who brought out my chiller Under the Ice last year -- are producing it as an e-book first, and hopefully as a paperback later on. I took the opportunity, naturally, to revise the book and bring it up to date before I even showed them the manuscript. And they have run with it since then, with the end result that I sent the final  proofs back just two days ago, and the novel will be available in September.

I hope my readers feel that it's been worth the wait.

Monday, 12 May 2014


And as a special gift to all my readers, DARK RAIN, the first of my 5 (so far) fantasy adventure novels is absolutely free on Kindle over the 12th and 13th of May. Here's the link.

Sunday, 4 May 2014


As I promised a couple of postings back, Dark Rain - the first novel in my Raine's Landing fantasy adventure series - is now available on Amazon Kindle, and for a fraction of its original price. There are five books in total in the series so far, with a sixth on its way this year. So here's your chance to start finding out about this strangest of Massachusetts towns and its peculiar inhabitants, grouchy hermit Lehman Willets, tough former criminal Cassie Mallory, the bizarre entity simply know as The Little Girl, and all the rest, not least the skillful but demented master magician Woodard Raine. Want to know what other people think of these books? Well, here are some Amazon reviews.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

MEET MATT BARRETT most of my thirty-six years as a professionally published author, I have written fantastical stuff. I started off with science fiction, and then moved very quickly on to supernatural and horror. And both those genres have colored the majority of my output over more than three and a half decades. Even my Sherlock Holmes stories have had a good strong touch of fantasy to guide their plots. And my Future Africa mysteries have been partly science fiction.

True, I've written one straight mystery short, 'Hamadryad' for Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, which can be found in my Books of Shadow on Kindle. And one wholly mainstream story, Balancing Act. But those two have been very much the exceptions to the general rule.

Only now, all that is changing. Because Telos Publishing have just bought my very first straightforward detective novel, The Desert Keeps its Dead. NO sci-fi. Not even a HINT of otherworldly spookiness. Just a murder, followed by more, and a tough detective who is tasked to solve them.

The Desert Keeps its Dead is a noirish, hard boiled thriller set in -- as the title suggests -- Arizona. The central character is Matt Barrett, a former FBI agent who quit the agency for personal reasons, now works for himself, and dispenses his own very rough brand of justice. You'll be learning more about him in the coming years, because I have plenty more novels to write in which he plays a very active part. And I'll be letting you know about the whens and wheres of Desert as soon as I hear myself.

But in the meantime, I just thought that you would like to have your very first meeting with Matt Barrett.

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Dark Rain, the first in my Raine's Landing series of dark fantasy/supernatural thrillers, was first published by the Eos imprint of HarperCollins in 2008. It immediately got a following and some pretty good reviews, and I have written four more novels set in that strange Massachusetts town since then, with a sixth - Witchhunter - planned this year. But now that first novel is finally out of print at Eos/HC and no longer available digitally, and the rights in it have reverted to yours truly.

Which means not straight away - I'm working on the final draft of something new at the moment, and don't want to disturb that process - but sometime in April I will be bringing out my own version of Dark Rain on Amazon, where it will join the likes of Deadly Violet and Speak of the Devil as a $2.99 e-book.

It's gonna fall, in other words. In price. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Late last year, Samhain Publishing took my short novel Under the Ice -- which had previously been a self-published Amazon e-book -- and brought out their own version of it. And this year they're doing the same again, with a much longer novel this time.

Hot Blood runs to over 120,000 words and is a vampire epic, starting in New York, taking in Central America, and finally moving on to Eastern Europe ... Prague, then Budapest, then finally the Carpathians. And these aren't any Twilight kinds of vampires I'm describing. No, these bloodsuckers are very definitely not nice ones.

After all the swooning and white weddings, I get the feeling some readers will be extremely glad to see some non-sparkly vampires back. But for those who prefer a little romance mixed in with their dark fantasy, the heroine of the novel is a supernatural being herself, although of a very different kind. She ...

No, I cannot tell you too much in advance, now can I? Hot Blood will be out as a Samhain e-book in September 2014.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014



Valetta Bay

Entrance to Mdina

St. Paul's Grotto, Rabat

Several of our friends down the years have recommended Malta as a place to spend some chill-out time. So last month -- as a little winter break -- Louise and I decided to give it a try, and found ourselves on a beautiful and very friendly island full of history and magic. We were only there for three days, but managed to pack plenty in, visiting the walled part of the capital, Valetta, the 'Silent City' of Mdina -- one time home to the Knights of St. John -- Rabat with its catacombs and underground chapels, and the gorgeous resort of St. Julian's (above). A great time was had, in other words, and we're determined to go back. Oh, and in the place where we were staying, just across from our hotel, there was a tiny village that has been built especially for the local ducks. Don't ask me whose idea it was or how it got there. It's just there, that's all. I like that.

"Someone's snapping photos of us. Do you reckon it's Sam Spade?"