Thursday, 23 November 2017

Neon Sands nearly complete

I've had a lot of fun writing this book and I can't wait for people to be able to read it. It's the first in the Neon trilogy of trilogies and sets the series up perfectly. I'm also conscious of not having it end with a massive cliffhanger - it may be an opening book but it's also important for it to have a beginning, middle and an end. I know how I'd feel if there wasn't at least some resolution to some arcs.

The cover will need a bit of tweaking, the manuscript editing, and then proofs ordered. I may also try this on Kindle Scout, so watch this space.

Sand like powder smothers the decimated planet; those that eke an existence scavenge and utilise old technologies they barely understand, wanderers drifting from outpost to outpost. But the sand hides secrets, and when it shifts, questions unasked and allegiances long forged are challenged. What else is the sand hiding? A sci-fi/punk adventure in an inhospitable landscape, Neon Sands is the opening book in an epic series that will explore Man’s technological and innate potential, and the search for hope when all looks bleak.

Add to your Goodreads shelf here:

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Horror Book Review: My Dead World by Jacqueline Druga

My Dead WorldMy Dead World by Jacqueline Druga
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just finished and jumping straight into the review with my thoughts still fresh - just like the many wounds that are gashed or slashed or mutilated in My Dead World.

It gets an extra star for the gore and its brazen attitude towards a world taken over by a zombie virus (the Z-word that must not be mentioned. It's interesting to me who choose to call the walking dead 'zombies', and who make up other words for them. Guilty of it myself. In the real world, for sake of ease of description when chatting to other people you'd end up just calling them zombies, right?)

While I did enjoy the read for the horror and gore, it also had me shaking my head in disbelief over some choices the characters made, and it became apparent that there were outside forces at play who didn't want everyone to live til the end of the book, despite having prepared so well and having so much info about the virus beforehand. Ergo complacency.

Nila and her family are forewarned by her CDC brother to start preparing an apocalypse shelter, using the cabin they own in the mountains. This thing is stocked, fenced, and everything. Yet shit still continued to hit the fan. Complacent little things that the characters, or, more prominently Nila, kept doing to endanger them kept pulling me out of the story whenever it was hotting up.

I guess it highlights the reality of the layman, that whenever I wanted Nila to turn it around and step up, she couldn't, letting emotion lead the way, leaving space for mistakes. Maybe that's what the majority of people would be like, but you'd like to think they'd catch on quicker. (Just a little too much indecision and second-guessing going on perhaps.)

And then all the death made for a bit of a sombre read in the end.

Fast-paced, lots of action, could do with another round of editing as a few errors, but a pretty accurate portrayal of a world falling apart from a ravaging virus.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Indie Book Review: The Mask of Sanity by Jacob M Appel

The Mask of SanityThe Mask of Sanity by Jacob M. Appel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeremy Balint:; hospital division chief, husband, father, would-be serial killer.

After one of those freakish sort of life coincidences that sends you tumbling down an alternate path, Jeremy sets his heart on the perfect murder. Only, to murder one person, he should really murder some others too so it looks random.

This is the kind of cold calculation you can expect from Jeremy's narrative, told from his POV. The story is solid, though (view spoiler) It was an entertaining read but felt restricted by (view spoiler) It's certainly fascinating to try and unravel the thought processes going on.

The cold moments in the narrative are lifted every now and then by Jeremy's wit - often in the form of mickey-taking, especially when he is in discussions with the rabbi who co-opts him into running some free clinics, which is a nice change of pace, while also revealing Jeremy's sociopathy. And as I said, the writing is solid and mostly unflourished, giving us an accurate insight into the working mind of a serial killer.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

DailyFlash: Anubis

When the death throes scuttled through his murmuring lungs and chuckled down his carotid, it was finally over. A restless night was day; the dewlight of dawn blued the thin curtains, lighting the empty eyes. The jackal's head distended over the corpse's mouth, jaw unlocking and teeth glistening. Its human stomach rippled and something within it gurgled until a clear amniotic expelled from within, cascading into the dead man. As his body filled, his body emptied; blood dripping up from bulging eyeballs into the nostrils at the end of Anubis' snout. When the embalming was complete it howled a morning howl.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Zombie Madness Instafreebie Collection - next 10 days

And so begins 10 days of zombie horror ebooks being given away over on Instafreebie! 

Get scared this halloween.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Horror collection promo

From the 16-18 October David Neth Books is hosting a promo for horror fans - head over to:

And find yourself a deal. Looks like a good collection, but then I would say that with The Risen included!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Rarity from the Hollow review & reading update

Straight from Goodreads:

Rarity from the Hollow 3/5
by Robert Eggleton

This was an odd read that fluctuated throughout trying to find its own identity but never settling. It gets an extra star from me because it was interestingly written, often witty and dry and punchy, riding quite heavily on dialogue, but there was a lot that didn't really work.

Lacy Dawn is a preteen in an abusive family; physical from the father and neglect from the mother. They live in a rundown home in the hollow, a mildly undefined space at the edge of town. She chants roundabend, roundabend, roundabend and floats into the woods (where the trees talk to her) to see her alien-android friend, DotCom. At first you're not sure what's real and what's made up, and though a lot of things are made concrete there's so many elements in this book it's a feeling that never quite goes away.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Neon Sands Trilogy - Goodreads

Feeling oddly satisfied after working out the arc for my characters in the Neon Sands trilogy - and with that, the titles! We have:

Book 1: Neon Sands: A Trilogy
Book 2: Valley of Ion: The Neon Sands Trilogy
Book 3: Subterranean Wasteland: The Neon Sands Trilogy

This is the first trilogy in the Neon Series, with 4-6 and 7-9 also loosely planned in my head. As we go through the series we'll be touching on a variety of genres: we begin with scifi and punk, with a dash of dystopia and a mysterious post-apoc vibe, perhaps crossing into serious cyberpunk and... I don't want to give too much away. The story will be epic and well worth the books I have planned. The first one is on Goodreads now if you want to hop on board. Check out the blurb and cover below and then head over to Goodreads to add it to your shelf...

Sand like powder smothers the decimated planet; those that eke an existence scavenge and utilise old technologies they barely understand, wanderers drifting from outpost to outpost. But the sand hides secrets, and when it shifts, questions unasked and allegiances long forged are challenged. What else is the sand hiding? A sci-fi/punk adventure in an inhospitable landscape, Neon Sands is the opening book in an epic series that will explore Man’s technological and innate potential, and the search for hope when all looks bleak.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Blade Runner & Hereafter New Cover

Hereafter has a new cover, one that looks the part, all in the name of the plan of looking more professional. Readers are enjoying it too!

Saw the new Blade Runner last night and was glad the local, small cinema wasn't showing it, forcing us into a mainstream multiplex with all the dolby goodness going on. It's gloriously cinematic, wide shots of beautiful dystopian cities accompanied by a dark, industrial soundtrack. Good story too. It may have lacked an iconic line or shot compared to the first one, but it was consistently awesome, and bravely paced, throughout.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

New cover, new lease of life - The Risen

You can grab The Risen for free til midnight 3 October - after that, it'll be getting some promos to go along with its new cover, just to keep things ticking nicely over. This is a marked improvement:

So head on over and don't forget to review!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

DailyFlash: Trimmer

My beard trimmer doesn't work. Its juice is gone and when I connect its charger the red light does not come on. It just whirrs for three or four seconds and dies. It sits useless in the basket of toiletries getting slowly buried and relegated to the bottom with the one or two unused earbuds, and that novelty bar of soap. But it was my father's. The last time he used it, well: it was used on him. I opened the bedroom door and he was sitting in the light of the lamp, his friend running the trimmer over his bald head. He silhouette was thin, or maybe him. I don't remember the words that were spoken; perhaps there were none. I just remember the electric buzz of the trimmer as it mowed that head of his. I remember the nonchalance, feigned perhaps, covering an embarrassment. Not of the act, but that it wasn't my hands holding the trimmer. The trimmer that now does not work. Not as intended anyway.

Friday, 29 September 2017

DailyFlash: Terraform

The martian river flowed red. The rising temperatures caused by the nucleonic clouds, and the sub-mantle explosions, were working! Mars shook and cracked, it's semisolid core heated from all sides, waking the titan. Expedition leader Guinan watched from the safety of her shuttle floating in the atmosphere. Below her, molten geysers erupted, and on the feeds in front of her she watched as similar scenes played out across the planet. She took the controls and steered the shuttle down, a flyby of the surface, swerving left and right as red flames licked up - and, she smiled, more importantly: steam. Great, bilious, clouds of unlocked gasses to sweeten the air. It had begun.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

AmReading - Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton - List update

My list is still so long! And now I'm well into writing Neon Sands it may take longer than usual to get through them. But books are friends, always there when you want them. I did finish The Method (4 stars) and Humanity's Hope (2 stars) and now I'm about to begin Rarity from the Hollow. I was a bit mean reviewing Humanity's Hope - as a rule if saying negative things it's good to make a positive-negative-positive sandwich out of it. I'll try harder next time. Thing is whenever I do criticise I'm always sure the same criticisms could be thrown back in my own face. But that's fine. You read, you write, you learn what works and what doesn't, FOR YOU. Screw the rest, right?

Currently reading

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. But she has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first. Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

Reading list

The Mask of Sanity by Jacob M Appel

On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief at his hospital, a model son to his elderly parents, fiercely devoted to his wife and two young daughters. On the inside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a high-functioning sociopath--a man who truly believes himself to stand above the ethical norms of society. As long as life treats him well, Balint has no cause to harm others. When life treats him poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Humanity's Hope by Pembroke Sinclair REVIEW 2/5

Even the cover is a bit misleading on this one. I hate to bash on another indie author, but Sinclair has quite a few books out all released in the last year and a bit. That could tell you something. This zombie story follows Caleb and his tryst with the authorities after he discovers a life-changing fact about himself - the clue is in the title - and then does a runner.

So much of this plot makes no sense: authorities who can't even use a little subterfuge and subtlety to get what they want (something they already had); a twist for the sake of a twist which leaves massive gaping holes in everything that happened previously; random events to push the plot, or convoluted decisions to push the plot (that even Caleb himself questions his motivations); and a protagonist with narcissistic tendencies (but in his defence, it's not his fault - at no point are we as readers left in any doubt about what he is thinking.) This is on-the-rail-writing, with tell-me back story and tell-me feelings: tell-me feelings that are repeated so often the only purpose is surely filler on the writer's behalf.

There's very little creativity here, phrases repeated, action repeated, tendrils of pain repeated, giving me tendrils of pain too. It's all very rote and by the book. Maybe I'm being harsh as this is aimed at the YA market - but don't they deserve something better? Both in writing, and plot? Honestly, Caleb is supposed to be a badass who has survived out there in 'the wild' among the zombies, but all he does throughout (and this isn't helped by the tell-me nature of the narrative) is whine, second-guess, and doubt himself. Maybe I'm forgetting what being a 17-year-old was really like!

Added to this is that it has no ending to speak of. Previous books of Sinclair are labelled volume if they are in a series, which this is not (yet). If there isn't to be a follow-up then I would definitely think about that ending. Helpfully, it would perhaps not burn plot holes in all that had just gone!