Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

All stories free for 3 days! Adult horror, fantasy, dystopian

In advance of WULF imminently becoming an ebook to buy (just waiting on the cover), for 3 days (starting on 13/12/2016) all of my previously published work is free! Click the pictures of the covers below to be taken to the Amazon page to check them out and read samples.

This includes:

Born to be Weird

 

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A short collection of weird, twisted stories, featuring the gothic science story The School of Necromancy (like Harry Potter meets Frankenstein and Lovecraft!) and the very bloody horror The Gauntlet of Gore, which is like nothing else.

Included are the short stories (also available separately):

The School of Necromancy – Deep below the city of York, below the sewers, below the catacombs, lies the School. It is here, if you are privileged to be selected, that you can study the art of raising the dead.

Keep it Clean – Have you ever been swallowed by a public toilet? No? This man has. A truly grotesque and odious tale.

There’s Only One King – Elvis Shadow walks the world, caught between this life and the next. A world containing other half-creatures, other myths and legends.

The Half-School – A dream-like account of a return to an old school.

The Gauntlet of Gore – “When playing the Gauntlet, there are two options. Either you win, or the whole team dies.
Either you die, or you see every other opposing team member blown to bits. There are no corpses, only giblets.”

January 5th – “It was January the 5th, and everywhere things were dead or dying.”

Faces in the Dark

 

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A short collection of strange, paranoid horror stories. Featuring the novella The Violet Dark – a hallucinogenic road horror. Read this toxic lovesong to darkness itself, and see what is meant by ‘a beautiful nightmare’.

Also included are the short stories (also available separately):

Her Parents’ Masks: She has never seen her parents’ real faces. They have worn terrifying buffalo masks from the moment she was born . . .

The Watcher – The air is black, and I do not sleep. The hours tick by. I do not sleep because someone is watching me.

Anamia – Assorted entries from the Anamia Diary, found among possesions. Care is advised before reading, especially for those who have or have had an eating disorder.

The Gremlins – Humanity’s days on this earth are numbered. How do you fight an enemy too small to see?

Dead Streets – A sad and haunted tale.

Moral Zero

 

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This is rock n roll writing. Its energy reminds me of early Amis, its articulation reminiscent of a Tarantino screenplay… Brilliantly sleazy, scum and filth visibly oozes from between the words on the page. Each paragraph leaves you breathless, each moving with such runaway-train speed you almost expect one to crash into the next. And it’s very funny.” – Paul Davenport, author of Not Like The Other Boys

I read this sitting next to my wife and after the first three paragraphs I said, ‘This guy can write’… In a word, this is uncompromising, brutal and pulls no punches.” – Joe Carter, author of The Corruption of Michael Blake

The voyeur. The pervert. The sadist. Three tormented souls in the grotesquely twisted city of Rule treat morality like a plaything in this dystopian thriller.
The voyeur: Knowledge is lust.
The pervert: The fantasy is everything.
The sadist: The answer to all things lies in death.

Mr White. Kidd Red. Johnny Black. Three deviants in a violent, sickly dystopia where completely opposing laws and moral codes are just a short walk away. Guided by a corrupt sense of moral subjectivism, they form an uneasy friendship. Each tormented by his own grotesque existence. But the greatest danger is making sure they don’t lose track of what is real…

Enter the city of Rule and the world of the moral zeroes.

 

You can also find the individual short stories, also free for 3 days,  if you browse my Amazon author page.

WULF coming soon!

The sunken purple of the early evening was blistering itself red. A sky wounding itself. And the man had still not shown.”

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Watch this space!

Born to be Weird short story collection

My second short story collection, Born to be Weird: A Short Collection of Demented Fantasy & Horror is now available on Amazon! And it’s free to download for the next 5 days!

A short collection of weird, twisted stories, featuring the gothic science story The School of Necromancy (like Harry Potter meets Frankenstein and Lovecraft!) and the very bloody horror The Gauntlet of Gore, which is like nothing else.

Included are the short stories (also available separately):

The School of Necromancy – Deep below the city of York, below the sewers, below the catacombs, lies the School. It is here, if you are privileged to be selected, that you can study the art of raising the dead.

Keep it Clean – Have you ever been swallowed by a public toilet? No? This man has. A truly grotesque and odious tale.

There’s Only One King – Elvis Shadow walks the world, caught between this life and the next. A world containing other half-creatures, other myths and legends.

The Half-School – A dream-like account of a return to an old school.

The Gauntlet of Gore – “When playing the Gauntlet, there are two options. Either you win, or the whole team dies.
Either you die, or you see every other opposing team member blown to bits. There are no corpses, only giblets.”

January 5th – “It was January the 5th, and everywhere things were dead or dying.”

 

Keep it Clean was originally in my previous collection Faces in the Dark: A Short Collection of Paranoid Horror, but it has been swapped with the most recent short story, Her Parents’ Masks, because it fit that theme better.

Faces in the Dark on Amazon.

Born to be Weird on Amazon.

Check out this great cover of Born to be Weird done by JCD2 Design.

 

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How Not to Kill Yourself published

Greetings,

It is my pleasure to announce that my please-don’t-call-it-a-self-help-guide How Not to Kill Yourself: A Survival Guide for Imaginative Pessimists has been published as a physical zine by the punk DIY Microcosm Publishing.

It offers unconventional advice and cynical motivation against depression, laced with mordant and tongue in cheek humour. Chances are, if you appreciate the title, you’ll appreciate the read.

Check it out here!

S.S.

 

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Writing update

It’s been a while since my last post, and for that I am sorry. Every revolution on the great ferris wheel of life the doors open – some qualities are gained and some qualities escape me. Qualities like discipline, optimism, motivation etc.

But I’m hardly alone in that.

Perhaps I should give myself space to write about other things, or make shorter posts, so this site keeps on going. I’ve been told a blog should at the least put out something once a week, that two a week is better, and that for some blogs it should be every day (which seems like overkill to me, but no doubt it works). I’ve always preferred quality over quantity, but to keep a blog’s numbers growing perhaps means I should be both more productive (I should always be more productive than I am) and easier on myself with what I put down.

Anyway, there’s more reasons than the unpredictable ferris wheel as to the slow spin of my writing engine. I’m writing a novel again – my first since Moral Zero. Or at least I hope to write it.  That makes it a much bigger – and much more daunting task than writing short stories, or even my novella The Violet Dark. The Violet Dark was supposed to be a novel – until I suddenly found I’d already finished it.

My troubled levels of determination and motivation, discipline and self-structuring will have to really start working out , what with a new (and ambitious) novel to compose, to arrange, to finish.

I also hope for it to be the first in a series. The title, possibly working title, for this first book (my reach exceeds my grasp!) is The Wulf and the Tiger. I don’t really know what it is at the moment; I have ideas, big ideas, but a lot of them are a bit ramshackle, and I don’t have any kind of middle for the book – what takes A to B? I’m not even sure what genre it is – it already seems like it could blend fantasy, high-concept sci-fi, western, horror and even comedy. Hopefully it’ll take on its own form as I write and I’ll understand more what I’ve got as I write it.

It is very early days. Nevertheless, stay tuned for future extracts, and I’ll see how high I can pull my socks up and for how long.

 

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Faces in the Dark horror story collection

Good evening!

Four things have come available to download all within short space of each other.  There is the short story The Half School, which I posted earlier on this site, there is the long short story The Gauntlet of Gore, another short story called The Gremlins, and a collection of paranoid horror called Faces in the Dark, which includes The Gremlins.

I’ll focus on Faces in the Dark for this post, and make separate posts in the near future for The Gremlins and The Gauntlet of Gore, and give you something to read of them.

Faces in the Dark primarily features the novella and hallucinogenic road horror The Violet Dark, of which there are a number of consecutive parts to read already up on my site. It also includes all of my ‘paranoid horror’ short stories: The Watcher, Keep it Clean, Anamia, The Gremlins and Dead Streets.

You can find it on Amazon.

Here are the blurbs for each of them, see if I can arouse your interest…

The Violet Dark

When you leave the paths of light, you fall and you fall forever.

A man finds a woman crouched over the body of her murdered father. The man is hallucinating on a liquid drug called violet, and offers it as a promise of escape. The woman, numb with shock and grief, takes it and soon finds herself in a ‘beautiful nightmare’, the shadowy world of the violet dark. They ride the endless roads on motorbikes, lost in the drug and almost lost to reality…

Terrible, grotesque things are hunting them. If only she could convince herself that the danger was all in her head…

The Watcher

The air is black, and I do not sleep. The hours tick by. I do not sleep because someone is watching me.

Keep it Clean

Have you ever been swallowed by a public toilet?

No? This man was.

A scatological horror so odious you’ll be showering non-stop for days.

Anamia

Assorted entries from the Anamia Diary, found among possessions.

Care is advised before reading, especially for those who have or have had an eating disorder.

The Gremlins

All around the world, things go missing. Some of the time they inexplicably reappear, hours later, after the whole house has been turned upside down. Then, there they are, in a place you had checked four times over, looking smug.
Some of the time they don’t come back. You know, you know for absolute fact that the item could not have left the house, perhaps not even left the room where you last saw it, maybe only a few minutes ago. Keys, a TV remote, a pair of glasses, a bookmark. They have nowhere to go to, no means of escape, and yet gone they are.

This is not a story about the things that go missing.

This is a story about what takes them.

Dead Streets

It was between Hallowe’en and the advent of Christmas, that half-haunted and melancholic time of year when spirits and ghasts one by one went to their slumber in the hidden places. I had spent the night drinking and smoking with a friend, and now in the small hours I set off on the pale roads to home.

 

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There’s Only One King now available!

The short odd-fantasy Elvis story There’s Only One King is now available!

You can get it for Kindle on Amazon here.

It is also FREE for today and tomorrow (27th and 28th), and shares that same free-ness with all my other short stories for those two dates.

You can find all these stories on my author page here.

Blurb:

They say Elvis is dead, and they’re half-right.
When Presley died, there was a power vacuum. And, before anybody could step in and fill the gap, Elvis’s shadow found bodily life.
Now Elvis Shadow walks the world, caught between this life and the next. A world containing other half-creatures, other myths and legends.
Far off, the lights of Vegas glitter and call to him.

 

Also check out this retro paperback style cover I had done:

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Have A Necromantic New Year

2015, and I’m not alone in being minus a hoverboard. It’s quite clear that disappointment is edging the horizon, eager to shuffle in and take its place at camp. Not that we need let it.

Let two-thousand-and-fifteen be the year where the connections in your mind burn brightly. Don the mantle, the headdress, the mask and costume, and let the superpowers of creativity shine bad and brilliant.

“It’s all real. Think about it. Haven’t Luke Skywalker and Santa Claus affected your lives more than most real people in this room? I mean, whether Jesus is real or not, he – he’s had a bigger impact on the world than any of us have. And the same can be said for Bugs Bunny and – and Superman and Harry Potter. They’ve changed my life – changed the way I act on the earth. Doesn’t that make them kind of real? They might be imaginary but, but they’re more important than most of us here. And they’re all gonna be around here long after we’re dead. So, in a way, those things are more realer than any of us. ” – Kyle Broflovski

So. Let 2015 be full, let it be pregnant with new things – and I don’t mean a new haircut or a new toothbrush, but NEW new things. Discovery can be infinite. Sure, we live in age where pretty much every piece of land has been discovered and explored already; colonised, stamped, taxed and signposted. But you can provide the new lands, the new maps, new people and places for others to explore, as well as yourself. Exploration is ongoing – but internally.

When you make things up, they exist. In a different way to how you and I might exist, perhaps (although I’m not quite sure that you even exist… or myself), but nonetheless.

Let 2015 be filled to bursting. Then make more room, then fill it again.

Let 2015 be packed with witchery, with angels and demons, with redtops and black krull, with superstitious northern wulven, with daggered sea-knights and diseased limpers, with Eastern meddlers sailing their sky caravans, with spectral raggers crowned with opal and bone; a year of endless drowning nights and waves that stamp like men, with slithering ten-eyed ricksnakes  that burrow through the sandswamps of Jingarl and curl around the footsteps of cognisants and dread myths alike; a year of gun-spinning legends with great black beards and steel-tipped fingers, of noseless mystics worshipping a pissant moon, of moving biological dungeons where the walls squirm and pulsate, where rites are sung and phosphorescent balloons like fat glowing sacks hang sickly off chains, where scaled, translucent gorbecks are savaged daily by their carnivorous masters, and all is beautiful and terrible and wild.

2015, bring on the endless, the unknowable, the desperate specks of excitement, the wet jungles and the dipping cloud castles, and the knives and teeth glinting in the trees… and may every monster alive flock to me and you.

And defend us.

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“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” ― G.K. Chesterton

 

I Wish You A Merry Christmas

I’m dreaming…

 

The father of Christmas, December’s paternal watcher, glides through the night. Blooded in green and red, driven by horned beasts that pedal the air with cloven hoofs. If you listen right, you may hear the bells on the wind.

Outside ghouls ice the windows. The wind chases itself through the skeleton trees. On high the moon hangs huge and fat in a nest of ink. Perhaps we will be gifted with the white rug coming down, perhaps not, but all truths of Christmas remain in our heart and our memories, and we can bring these forth in nostalgia, in movies and music, in simple sights and inventions, and in possessions by those Yule spirits that infest even common wood and stone with mulled fireside haunt.

Think of A Christmas Carol, and think of It’s A Wonderful Life. Think of Dickensian London, with snow on every day, feathering down onto black top hats and bonnets, feathering into the mass quilt. Drifts of Yuletide carols pass around gloomlit corners, hang under streetlamps and tip-toe the cobbles.

Think of good things in your life, things that have happened long ago and were good then and will always be good, and good things that will yet come to pass.

If you do not celebrate or officially recognise Christmas, enjoy your own festivities whenever they occur in the year, and leave others to theirs. Do not seek to ruin things that bring others joy or meaning.

Do not focus too much on semantics, or past meanings. The origins of things are never clear cut, nor are they often what they seem. Now, you make your own meaning. Christmas can be as religious as you like, but it need not be so necessary for others. Things change. Things are always changing. Whether your celebration be Christian, pagan, or secular, it is at its heart a festival about sharing.

Yes, you can never hear it enough: Christmas is about sharing; company, food, drink, gifts, cards, love, laughter, and life.

Do not think too much on the commercialisation of Christmas. Where there are gifts to be bought there is always money to be made. Think instead on those receiving such gifts. And remember, the thought is what counts.

To give is to receive.

November is old age, and December is the death of the year. Christmas is the year’s deathbed. A deathbed is no place for grievance, for old hate, for worry, for hubris. It is a place to forgive, to make amends, to make the most of what is left to you.

Hold candles to keep the darkness at bay, or embrace it as an old friend.

Take the time to be thankful for the good things.

If you have a home, be it costly, dirty, and broken, on this day be thankful.
If you have food, be it cheap, tasteless and out of date, on this day be thankful.
If you have a friend, be them unreliable, stubborn and offensive, on this day be thankful.
If you have family, be them difficult, irritating, and stuck in their ways, on this day be thankful.
If you have health, be your nose running, your body exhausted and your head aching, on this day be thankful.

Baubles and tinsel, multi-coloured jewels that glow on green needles. Presents wrapped in bows and glitter huddle together for comfort, gifts awful and brilliant, asked for and unwanted. The December Father looks in at the windows, nods his head. He pulls away the sprites with big eyes and sharp teeth, who remain outside under the knives of winter. You’re under his protection now, just for now, before he retires to his polar battlements, sailing long over seas where blue tentacles of northern Cthulhus whip the waves.

Drink, eat, and be merry.

Do not be an island among islands – calm usual angers and encourage good feeling, good sentiment. Remember the unspoken charities: charity to family, to friends, to strangers and to enemies. Charity can be in mere words.

Reach out. Make effort where you did not before. Think about the lives of others, even those you do not know so well. Think that, at our core, we all share the same experiences: those of life, love, strife, hurt, loss, and confusion. Give a present or card to someone you never gave a present or card to before. A gift does not have to be big or expensive; it could be homemade, and it need not even be a material thing at all.

People want, and need to be thought of, especially at this time of year. Tell someone you love them, you like them, that they are a good person, that they deserve happiness and if you had it in your hand you would give it to them first.

I am a misanthrope most days of the year, and regularly filled with pessimism, cynicism and frustration, and I do not really know what non-romantic love is, and yet on this day I love you all dearly.

If you are with others on Christmas, treat them as well as you are able. Pass over your differences. When a tongue should be held, hold it. When laughter should flow freely, free it.

If you are alone on Christmas, remember that not even in the darkest and most silent of times is there such a thing as true loneliness.
Put your ears to the floor, and listen. Listen carefully.
Do you hear it? Do you feel it?

They are awake, and they are listening back.

Merry f. Christmas,
S.S.

The School of Necromancy now available!

The gothic science/gothic horror short story inspired by Harry Potter as much as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and H.P. Lovecraft is now available on Amazon!

Better yet, assuming you read this post fast enough, it’s FREE for the rest of today (4/12/14) and tomorrow. Not to fear if you miss it, as it’s mere pennies/cents afterwards.

Deep below the city of York, below the sewers, below the catacombs, lies the School. It is here, if you are privileged to be selected, that you can study the art of raising the dead. Reanimation, demonology, experimental necroscience, theoretical homicide… It’s all there for the learning, in a vast underground complex of stone corridors and halls, tunnels and staircases, laboratories and cellars and libraries, crypts, morgues, test chambers, operating theatres and black chapels…
It’s all there, that is, if you can keep your head…

 

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