Tuesday, 22 September 2009


'You can't judge a book by its cover' goes the saying. But the plain fact is that people in bookstores do. Research shows that the majority reason (about 90%) why browsers even pick up books they're unfamiliar with is that the cover attracts them. Cover art and layout, therefore, are much bigger deals than most people suppose.

Which makes what follows rather interesting. Night of Demons, weeks before its launch, has picked up yet another good, enthusiastic review, this time by Kelly Melcher on the website Fandomania. And Kelly starts like this:

"While the saying goes 'one should never judge a book by its cover,' that is an excellent place to start here. It easily sets the mood, and really grabbed my interest. The mood? Dark and ominous. I know I don't normally comment on covers, but this one just caught my eye from the moment I opened the package it came in and tempted me to read just based on the artwork alone."

It would appear artist Don Sipley mixes a little magic with his paints, and that is very good to hear. And Kelly also goes on to say, "The pace was excellent. There was enough action to keep turning the pages and waiting to see what comes next." She liked the book inside and out, then.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Way back at the very start of my writing career, one of the very earliest stories that I sold was a straight horror tale, set in Canada and called Child of Ice. It was bought by an editor called Herbert van Thal for an anthology series called The Pan Books of Horror. The tale saw print after a while, and I was glad to see it out. But other than that, I merely took note that one of the other contributors was a certain Ian McEwan -- impressive! -- and then pocketed my £40 and went on my merry way. How was I to know that, years later, the series would come to be regarded as a classic with a huge cult following.

And now all that is being drawn together by man-about-horror Johnny Mains, who is bringing out a book on the subject, has compiled a massive website, and has several other projects on the go into the bargain. One of which is BACK FROM THE DEAD: The Legacy of the Pan Book of Horror Stories. It's an anthology which brings back together some of the best contributors to PBoH. They provide new stories where they can, and where they can't one of their old-time classics is included. There's to be a Forward by Shaun Hutson, an introduction by David A. Sutton. Oh yes, and there's a brand-new tale of terror by yours truly on the contents list.

BACK FROM THE DEAD will come out from Johnny's own publishing company, Noose & Gibbet, and will be released -- you guessed it -- just in time for World Horror in Brighton. And the cover appears here by the man's kind permission.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Most of my time is centred on the Raine's Landing novels these days. But they're not the only thing I do, nor the only books that I see published. Take a look at my bibliography, and you'll realise that I've written a sizeable number of short stories down the years. And the number one publisher of collections of those in the U.S. these days is the very excellent Dark Regions Press, who turn out great looking and reasonably-priced books and have a catalogue of fine authors that is continually expanding.

They've already released one bumper-sized collection of my work, Shadows and Other Tales, which was extremely well received. Peter Tennant at the great British horror mag Black Static said of it "For the sheer pleasure of reading a story by a master of the art, Shadows and Other Tales is hard to beat." While Trevor Denyer of the highly-regarded indy journal Midnight Street added "Shadows is more than worth the entrance fee and the journey. Highly recommended."

And now I'm in discussion with editor Joe Morey about publishing two more collections of my work. I'll let you have the details just as soon as they're ironed out.


Louise and I are recently back from a flying three-night visit to NYC. The occasion? The wedding of Louise's 'baby' cousin, Samantha, now in her early forties and a trainee cardiologist. A whole load of other members of the clan flew in from Toronto with their friends, and it was great to see them. Sam and her charming partner Jeremy live in the West Village, just about my favourite section of Manhattan, and the whole shindig took place there. The ceremony was on Charles, and then we went on to the Perry Street restaurant on the corner of Perry and West, right next to the river and with beautiful views of the Hudson. The terrific lunch we had there didn't stop a bunch of us from heading across to Mulberry Street that evening for some pasta.

Which meant that when Diana Gill, my editor at Eos, took me out to Papillon on 54th for another lunch the next day, I wasn't exactly hungry. It's always a pleasure to see her, though, and I finally got taken around the HarperCollins offices and met her assistant Will Hinton and the publicist assigned to me, Greg Shutack. Worth the trip.