Sunday, 14 December 2014


Down the years, I’ve largely become known as a writer of supernatural fiction, dark fantasy, and horror. I’ve written science fiction too, and even some short mystery stories, but those have almost always had either a supernatural or a futuristic twist. But now my very first full-blown crime novel – THE DESERT KEEPS ITS DEAD – is out from Telos Publishing. No spooks, no sf, nothing but action and intrigue and evil-doing. It’s available in eBook format and in a paperback version too. The back-cover write-up is below:

The desert … it prefers to keep its dead. It wraps them up in its hot, dry arms, leeching the moisture from their skin ….

Ex-FBI agent turned private eye Matt Barrett arrives in Sunset City, Arizona searching for a teenage runaway, only to find her dead and buried in the desert sand. Investigating further, he learns that other young girls have gone missing. It seems there may be a serial killer on the loose. But Sunset City is an unwelcoming place of dark, closely-guarded secrets, and Barrett is resisted at every step of the way, soon finding his own life in danger …

A gripping, noirish debut crime novel from acclaimed horror and dark fantasy author Tony Richards.

‘He’s convincing … convincing enough that the locals will read about their city as described by Tony Richards and shudder. And that’s what we call a writers’ writer’ – John Pelan.

THE DESERT KEEPS ITS DEAD is available in eBook format from Amazon, B&N Nook, Kobo, or as a fine looking trade paperback from Telos Publishing.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how my readers react to this new change in direction. Who knows? I might even pick up some new ones. And a second novel featuring the same detective ought to be in my agent's clutches early next year.

Monday, 6 October 2014


Once again, my richardsreality website has been through a major update, with a new interview, additions to the photo gallery, news of my latest novel HOT BLOOD from Samhain Publishing, and updated info for the e-book versions of my Raine's Landing series.

Most importantly, though, I've added a couple of articles on the subject of going about writing a novel.. Under the general heading 'Some Thoughts on Writing,' Part One is titled TRUST YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS, while Part Two comes under the heading THE DIFFERENT DRAFTS.

I've nearly thirty years experience of seeing novels into print with the likes of Tor Books, Pan, HarperCollins and Schusters, and I very much hope all you prospective authors out there find some of my advice useful.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Last year saw the publication of my chiller Under the Ice from Samhain Publishing. And it certainly drew some critical praise, but it was short, a novella in fact.

This year sees something much, much bigger, because my dark fantasy epic Hot Blood is out from the same publishers. Here's the back-cover blurb:

Who dares to challenge a vampire?

Two very different immortal creatures have arrived in New York City. One is Tanya Merrit, the last of the Ykrall, a race that lives among—and depends on—human beings.

The other is Janos Wolkran, an ancient and extremely powerful vampire. He has with him a brood of servants, humans that he has converted. But one of his servants is dying. And Wolkran has chosen Tanya’s lover, Kathy Harrison, as a replacement. When he kidnaps her, Tanya sets off in a pursuit that will lead her around the world…and into a battle to the death between immortals.

Hot Blood starts out in Manhattan before moving on to Latin America. And then, after a brief stop-over in London, England, the action transfers to Prague, and beyond that to Budapest, finally ending up in the Zempleni Mountains, part of the Carpathian Range. Like I said, this is one big book  and took me several years to finish.

The novel is available either 
as a superb-looking trade paperback or in e-book format, either directly from Samhain, or from Amazon, Nook, or Kobo.

Want a piece of fiction you can really get your teeth into? Well, this should keep you busy for a while. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


How about this for a special offer?

For the rest of this month, all of my self-published e-books in all formats will be available for 99c plus delivery fee (totaling around 77 pence in the UK). That takes in books normally priced at $2.99, including 3 full length novels in my Raine's Landing dark fantasy adventure series, the huge short story collection pictured above, and The Complete Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century.

Which means that all of my e-books on Amazon Kindle are now the same low price. And the same applies to KoboSmashwords, and B&N Nook.

Happy reading. And in some cases, scary reading too -- though not everything is write is scary by a long chalk. There's something for most tastes here.


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.

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?"

Monday, 27 January 2014


Down the past few years, I’ve been writing small batches of 3 or 4 Sherlock Holmes stories and publishing them as little 99c ebooks on Kindle. But now I’ve pulled them all into one big collection, 13 tales in all. Here's a rundown of the stories:

In ‘The House of Blood,’ someone is draining lucky Vegas gamblers of their vital essence. In ‘The Desert King,’ a self-styled shaman holds unnatural sway over his followers, and more. In ‘The Hidden Shore,’ vacationers are inexplicably taking their own lives on a Caribbean island. In ‘The Terror in the Park,’ something monstrous is killing financial workers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In ‘The Vanished,’ a San Francisco newspaper owner has gone missing without any warning, and he’s not the only one. In ‘Shiny Trinkets,’ very valuable jewels are disappearing from heavily secured vaults in New York. In ‘A Shadow in the Harbour,’ cargo-workers in Hong Kong are dying in a most mysterious fashion. In ‘The Hunters and the Hunted,’ a swarm of bees in Africa appears to have developed a mind of its own, with deadly intention. In ‘Vermillion Moon,’ something is robbing the customers of an Amsterdam bordello of their minds. In ‘A Ghost in Tokyo,’ Holmes confronts an extremely modern apparition, and meets his match in the form of a female Japanese detective. In ‘Flight of Fantasy,’ he finds himself trapped aboard a doomed jetliner bound for Europe. In ‘Above the Boulevards,’ a bizarre vigilante is at work in Paris. And in ‘The Crimewave,’ Holmes is summoned back to London to confront his most puzzling and lethal case of all.

And here’s my Introduction to the book:


It was at the World Fantasy Convention of 2008, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. World Fantasy traditionally takes place around Halloween, and goes on for four or five days. And some of the people who attend seem capable of spending almost all their time in the hotel, hanging round the bar and showing up for the various panels. But I’m afraid I’m not one of those types. After the first day or so, I begin contracting a powerful dose of cabin fever. I start getting stir crazy. I just need to get out.
It was a brisk day, but a sunny one, and so I headed out through the pleasant streets of what is essentially a fairly prosperous oil town, albeit that it has as many panhandlers as downtown San Francisco. I was gone a couple of hours, dropped in on a couple of bookshops along the way. And I was finally making my way back to the Hyatt when I noticed a small knot of conventioners grouped outside the entrance, including one person I’d met several times before and really, honestly liked.
There were a small handful of things that I already knew about Charles Prepolec. One, he is not only a very pleasant feller but a genuine, well-mannered gentleman, which is a rarity these days. Two, he happens to be a resident of the same city I was visiting, and owns a bookstore there. And three, he is a total Sherlock Holmes fanatic.
So we exchanged pleasantries and swapped news for the first few minutes. But then Charles sprang a question on me that left me genuinely stunned. Namely:
“I’m editing a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories at the moment – supernatural ones. Would you like to try submitting one?”
And some thought processes can be terribly complex ones, for sure. But not my reaction to this particular request. I can sum it up for you extremely neatly. I thought:
Because – don’t get me wrong, I love the great detective just as much as the next reader – but it had never occurred to me, not in all my wildest dreams, to personally sit down and write a Holmes tale.
But hold it just a second. I make my living as a freelance writer. Which means that when an editor asks me for a contribution, the very last thing that I do is immediately turn him, or her, down. I don’t go burning bridges or slamming doors behind me, however unexpected the subject matter that is being asked for. And so … after a few seconds of stunned silence … I managed to force out the words:
“I’ll certainly give it some thought.”
And we nodded at each other and left it at that.
On and off over the next couple of months, I thought about it quite a lot, and with no small degree of anxiety. There was a huge problem attached to writing such a piece of fiction, so far as I was concerned. And the huge problem was this.
I generally don’t write period fiction. I’m just not that kind of author. The stories that I write are based on places I have been, things that I’ve encountered, people that I’ve met. All reflected and distorted into fantasy in the dark mirror of my warped imagination, for sure. But I almost never write stuff that I’ve had no kind of direct experience of.
So what to do? How to get across that hurdle? It was a dilemma that I worried at intermittently for the better part of eight weeks, until I finally saw a possible solution.
And it went like this.
Back in 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle finally tired of writing about Sherlock Holmes and killed him off in a story called ‘The Final Problem,’ sending him on that famous plunge down the Reichenbach Falls. But he misjudged the fervour of his audience. The great detective’s fans were having none of it and pestered Doyle constantly, begging him to bring their hero back.
And so eight years later, in 1901, Sir ACD put into print perhaps the best of all his Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles. He revived the character, in other words. Dragged him back out of the grave, not as any zombie or revenant, but as the brilliant man that he always had been.
And I thought: Okay so, in a way, Sherlock has simply popped back into existence, rather like Captain Scarlet in those old Gerry Anderson shows. Which means he is effectively immortal. Which also means that he could still be around in the present day.
This was a good couple of years before either the Cumberbatch or the Johnny Lee Miller TV incarnations … I feel I should point that out. But I sat down at my laptop and began writing ‘The House of Blood,’ setting Sherlock Holmes in modern-day Las Vegas, a city that I’d long wanted to set a piece of fiction in. I finished it relatively quickly, emailed it to Charles and his co-editor J.R. Campbell, and it finally appeared in 2011 in Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes from Edge Publishing.
But that was hardly the end of my encounter with Holmes.
Because I absolutely loved writing ‘House of Blood.’ I had more fun behind my laptop than I’d had in years, and not simply because it is an exciting adventure. My version of Holmes might still be living in the present day, but his heart belongs to the Victorian Age. He’s frequently critical of our society. Some of our attitudes and habits surprise and appal him. Which is not to say there are not modern things he isn’t rather fond of. Mr. Spock in Star Trek, to give one example. Why exactly? Well, that’s a no-brainer. And he’s swapped his cocaine habit for a partial addiction to pina coladas into the bargain… pineapples were very rare and a genuine delicacy back in the London that he came from, and so that makes sense.
I saw more possibilities, and didn’t want to stop. So I began writing some more fiction about the great detective trapped here in our era. And – since he now has an entire eternity to go on fighting crime – I couldn’t see any genuine reason to confine him to just one location. I had him travelling and solving cases all over the globe instead. The whole way across the United States. In the Caribbean. Africa. Paris, Amsterdam, Japan and Hong Kong, and even Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I’d write three or four of these tales over the course of a few months, then publish them as little 99c collections on Kindle Direct.
But here they all are now, pulled into one big collection and topped off by a final story in which Holmes is called back to his native London. He’s finally found his way home, much the same that I finally found a way to write Holmes. I hope that my enjoyment in penning these thirteen tales rubs off on you in some way. Let’s find out. Read on.

Tony Richards,
London, 2014.

You can find out more here. And here's the UK link.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


My collection TOUCHED BY MAGIC is free on Amazon Kindle today and tomorrow. It's one of my best-liked collections, comprising 4 supernatural and modern fantasy stories of a far happier nature than the type I'm better known for. I write those occasionally, when I'm in the mood. No person is just one thing, and I include myself in that.

Here's a little more about the background to these humane tales.

I sometimes write supernatural and modern fantasy fiction with a gentle touch, and these are 4 of my favorites. 'Hanako' came from an absolutely fascinating trip to the southern Japanese island of Kyushu (I'd already been to Tokyo a couple of years earlier). I knew I had to write something about the place, and started work on the story just as soon as I'd got home and recovered from my jet-lag. 'Seeing' comes from my long-time love affair with London -- I once lived by a square exactly as described, not far from Hyde Park. 'After the Storm' comes from another trip, to Penang, Malaysia this time. I actually stayed at the famous and historic Eastern & Oriental Hotel, which features heavily in the story. And 'Angel' comes simply from my love of wild, atmospheric  places like the moors of southwest England. It's a cliche, I know, but if you enjoy reading these tales half as much as I enjoyed writing them, you'll like them a lot.

You can find out more right HERE.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


As well as the Raine's Landing Novels Page on Facebook, there's now a Page about my new novels from Schusters/Pocket and Samhain Publishing, my latest (seventh) short fiction collection from Dark Renaissance Books, and my most recent self-published enovels. Check it out here.