Got Ghosts? You will have!

got ghosts frontPopping in this morning to say that I’ve created a brand new stand-alone web page for Got Ghosts? with more information about the book.

At the moment it includes the blurb and the release date, but I’ll be adding more over the next few days – including an excerpt and those all-important details on where you can buy the thing – so do keep checking back.

You can find the page here. I hope you’ll find it useful.

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Being Me available for pre order

BeingMeA few weeks back I mentioned that I’d had a story, The Visitor, accepted in a charity anthology called Being Me.

The anthology includes a total of sixteen stories about people suffering isolation or discrimination as a result of being different, and proceeds will be going to the Being Me charity.

And the good news is that the book is now available to pre order on both Amazon and Smashwords. (Delivery due on 1st November, which is when it becomes fully available to buy.)

So don’t risk missing out – head over to Amazon now to register your interest. And I’ll be back in the next few days with an excerpt from The Visitor and a few more details about both the story, and the book.

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‘Got Ghosts?’ cover reveal

And now *drum roll please* the moment you’ve all been waiting for…  Well, the moment I’ve been waiting for at any rate. The moment that the brand new cover artwork for ‘Got Ghosts?’ is revealed. And here it is, in all its wonderful psychedelic glory.

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The artwork is by Vincent Holland-Keen and I particularly like the way he’s captured not just the spooky atmosphere of the book, but also the general sense of breathlessness and rushing about.  Very much a case of lights, camera, inaction as people bump into ghosts and knock things over while they’re trying to run away! And (ahem) I do love that I’m described as ‘writer and director’. Moving up in the world!

The book is due out from Fox Spirit in a couple of weeks, just in time for Halloween, so do keep checking back for details of when and where you can get it. As Carl the producer says, “Some psychic you are, darling – you didn’t see that one coming!” I’ll try to make sure you can’t say the same about the book.

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A summons to read…

…my 75- word flash fiction ‘The Summons’, which is appearing on the Paragraph Planet website.

Church_Bells_Narikala_fortressThe story is based on an old myth from Thirlmere in the Lake District. The villages of Armboth and Wythburn were drowned (having been evacuated first, I should add – I’m not that much of a ghoul!) during the creation of the reservoir for Manchester Water Works in the 1890s. The villages were small, but houses, gardens, walls, and even Armboth church were covered by rising waters – but it’s said that on certain days, you can still hear the church bells ringing out across the valley.

My chilling take on the legend is available to read at Paragraph Planet today, and will be added to their archive in due course. So do go and give yourself some pre-Halloween shivers!

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Friday Five – daft birds

Birds can be really difficult to take good photographs of – just as you click the shutter they move, squawk, waddle away or fly off. But over the years I’ve been lucky enough to snap a few memorable, and unusual, shots, which I thought I’d share with you here.

Seagull, Windermere

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This seagull was cheerfully ignoring the local parking regulations at Lakeside, on the shores of Windermere, but flew off before anyone could fine it.

Pigeons, Liverpool

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Even the pigeons looked fed up on a recent trip to the (otherwise brilliant) Liverpool waterfront in non-stop pouring rain.

Cormorant, River Thames

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These birds perch on anything to dry their wings after a fishing trip…

Doves, Windermere

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Sleepy, puffed-up doves braving the promenade on a freezing cold morning in Bowness.

Pigeons, V&A

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Who needs waiting staff or cleaners when you can just get the pigeons to tidy up for you? Taken at the V&A museum café in London a few years ago.

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Just visiting?

I had some lovely news on the writing front the other week, but have been so busy dashing around I’d completely forgotten to pass it on!

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while may remember a short story of mine called The Visitor, which appeared in the Queer Dimensions anthology from QueeredFiction.  The book contained some wonderful sci-fi stories, and I’ve always been fond of mine.  Sadly, QueeredFiction went out of business several years ago, and the book, and my story, were out of print.

The good news is that The Visitor has been re-born, and will soon be appearing in charity anthology Being Me, from Dreamspinner Press.  It’s had a minor make-over with a few howlers ironed out and a somewhat improved ending, but basically it’s still the same tale of time travel, lost opportunities, and the fight to make a better world.

I don’t yet have full details of when the anthology will be available, but will post them, plus cover art, and info on the Being Me charity, as soon as I do. Hopefully this time the story will do more than ‘just visit’, and will stay for a while!

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Book launches, biblical floods, and best endeavours!

I was really looking forward to this weekend.  Two of my writer friends have new historical novels out (‘The Blood of Kings’ by Angela King, and ‘Pleasing Mr Pepys’ by Deborah Swift), and both had launch parties in the space of three days.

First was Angela’s, which she held on Thursday at the Quarter Lounge in Carlisle. I bowled up on the train, quietly boiling as it was a surprisingly warm sunny day, and had a nice meal at the venue with several writer friends. Then came the launch itself, which included Angela being interviewed by fellow writer LP Mennock, and reading from both ‘The Blood of Kings’ and its sequel, ‘To Kill a Queen’. Both books are set, rather unusually, against the backdrop of the earliest years of Elizabeth I’s reign, a turbulent period during which she survived umpteen attempts on her life, and it was fascinating to hear Angela speak about this. And the venue had done her proud, with lots of decorations including metal crowns over all the candles!

Saturday brought Deborah’s launch at the bookshop in Carnforth, a small market town on the Lancashire/Cumbria border. The weather locally had been diabolical overnight and throughout the morning, and we knew some of the roads had been affected by flash flooding. So we got the car out early, and headed for our ‘last resort’, a narrow lane which clambers over the fells at the back of Windermere and links up with the road to Kendal. It’s narrow, steep, and twisting, but hardly anyone apart from the locals knows about it and it’s been something of a life-saver in the past. This time, we got up the steep slope to the first bend to be met by a wall of red brake lights, and had the tricky task of turning round in a road barely six feet wide, whilst braving traffic rushing at us from all directions at once. We managed it eventually, and got ourselves back home. We’d driven the impressive distance of 1.3 miles, and it had taken us over twenty minutes. But all other routes out of Windermere were blocked; the trains stopped running; and the town was effectively cut off for several hours. And in those circumstances, there’s not much else you can do.

It was a real shame to miss Deborah’s event as I’ve been to several of hers in the past and they’re always great fun. This book is an amusing romp involving Samuel Pepys and a fictional maid-servant, skilfully written to include events that we know about from Pepys’s own diaries. I’m hoping to meet up with Deborah for coffee soon, and hear all about both the launch and the book in much more detail.

In the meantime, the floods soon cleared, and we escaped without wet feet (or a wet floor) this time round. But other properties around town weren’t so lucky, and it was quite dramatic while it lasted. As you can see from this photo, which I took just a few hundred yards from our house.

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