Publication Day For Chasing Solace!

I said Chasing Solace was coming.

It's here! Today is publication day for me!

Paperback to come later.

That is all.

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

Men of Many Words #6: Karl Drinkwater

On 1st of April I was interviewed on Book Addict Rambles as part of their "Men of Many Words" series. You can read the interview over on their site. I've also included a backup of the interview below.

Another Monday, another Man of many words. This week I’ve got a Q&A with Karl Drinkwater. After my recent step into the sci-fi genre, his books intrigue me!! Especially Lost Solace, you’ll find info about that one at the bottom of the post!


Who are you?

Karl Drinkwater. A serious author (and editor) with a ridiculous name.

How many books have you written?
I think I have seven published (depending on whether anthologies count), with a couple of others due out later this year.

What kind of things do you write?
All sorts! My most recent books have been sci-fi (Lost Solace), with elements of fast-paced thriller and horror. I’ve also written literary/contemporary novels (such as Cold Fusion 2000), and horror/thriller (Turner, Harvest Festival, They Move Below). I vary genres because it should be the story and characters that determine genre, rather than being forced into one. Regardless of genre, I always want to tell a good story with believable and varied characters.

What’s your favourite book out of those you’ve written?
That’s tricky! Often it’s the book I most recently touched. So probably Lost Solace. It’s been really successful, with praise in stacks of reviews (I list some of them on the book’s page), demands for a sequel, and an amazing audiobook from a supremely talented narrator. The sequel, Chasing Solace, is due out soon. That will placate my fans for a while (I hope!), but I have a lot of plans in this area. If the books continue to be so popular I’ll round them off as a trilogy with a third book (I already have the framework laid out); also some spin-off short stories exploring other tales and characters from the Lost Solace world; and an almanac of details about the world – politics, science, organisations etc.

Why’s the response to that book been so good?
The reviews suggest a few things – fast paced, tension, twists – that’s all plot-related stuff. But mainly I think it comes down to the characters. Which is all the more gratifying because I tried a few unconventional things with this book, and one of them was limiting the characters to two, for most of the book’s length. They mostly just talk to each other, yet their changing relationship really seems to grip readers. In fact, in the Jera’s Jamboree list of Best Fiction Books 2018, Lost Solace was awarded “Best Kick-ass Heroine Award”, which made me incredibly proud! See, characters are so important for making a good book.

Can you tell me more about the characters?
I don’t want to give away plot points, but the two characters are Opal and Clarissa. Opal is an ex-soldier, on the run from the military, and risking her life to find something on a creepy and deadly spaceship (I say “something” because one of the other unconventional elements was hiding the main character’s true goal until the end of the book – normally that is made clear at the start, but I like to try out new things and take risks). Clarissa is an amazing artificial intelligence embodied in a top-secret spaceship Opal stole, and at the start of the novel Opal can’t be sure that Clarissa is fully trustworthy and won’t kill her at the first opportunity, especially if Clarissa discovers how she was hacked by Opal. This is one of the underlying tensions of the book.

Were you trained to do writing or have you taught yourself?
Both, I suppose. Studying English and classical literature at university taught me appreciation. Reading books about writing gives advice. Going to courses and classes encourages experimentation and diversity. Conscious reading gives hints on how effects are achieved. Advice from professionals and editors guides you away from common faults. Editing fiction for other authors brings the elements of good writing and stories to the fore, as well as highlighting things to avoid. Being a professional librarian for over twenty-five years immersed me in books and publishing. The rest is practice and accepting that it is not something you’ll ever master, but over time you should improve.

What messages are there in your work?
Firstly, watch out for chainsaw murderers, aliens, and zombies.
Secondly, no man or woman is an island.
Thirdly, without love and affection we become susceptible to depression and hate.
Fourthly, we should all be excellent to each other, to all species, to nature.
They’re in reverse order of importance.

Other plans?
Last year I was working on a few books, but didn’t release anything – I was just so busy! Partly that was editing books for other authors (I’m a bit of a fiction book doctor for authors who I respect), but also I was chairing a jury for the huge international Bram Stoker Awards. It meant a lot of work, for the whole year (all in secret – while you are a judge you can’t let people know). I got a snapshot of a mass of contemporary work for twelve months, which really trained my eye on what the current market is. That’s useful for me and my fiction clients. I’ve judged a few competitions over the years, it is always hard work but rewarding, and is partly tied to my professional membership of groups and organisations such as the Horror Writers Association, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. I like to give something back.

Blurb for Lost Solace:
Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.
Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.
Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.
The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.
Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.


Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

Website Redesign

I thought I'd freshen things up as part of a spring clean, ready for my first big book release in eighteen months! (Lost Solace exploded into the world in October 2017.)

I last updated my website with a new theme almost exactly three years ago, in March 2016. It seems so long ago, and so much has changed since then.

In case you're curious about what is different, I'll include some before and after images below. The new site design has a few new features:
  • My logo in the header.
  • Social media icons in the header.
  • A new slider system on the homepage that shows three books/promotions at a time, rather than just one.
And a few that were less important to me, but still nice:
  • A menu with room for further options, in preparation for new books, genres, and series.
  • A right-hand-bar widget that combines popular posts, tags, and my archive of posts via selecting tabs at the top (rather than each one being a separate widget).
  • A more visible search box.
It took me an afternoon to apply the new XML template, customise it, rebuild navigation menus, connect social media icons, and create new images for the sliders (since the old ones were too big).

The old website homepage

The new website homepage

The old website - how a page looked

The new website - how a page looks

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

The Political Corruption Of Language - Europe's Secret War Of Bias

The Greatest Democracy

You know what the greatest democracy is? Guess.

No, not ancient Greece. No, not the US. Not the UK. Not Europe. Not even a country. It’s language. That's right, the most democratic institution in the world is language.

It's the one thing we all have a say in, every day, as we communicate, and as we describe the world. It isn't some fake democracy where we vote every few years from a pathetically-limited number of options, none of which represent our views, and vaguely hope that the strangers we voted for sometimes make choices we might agree with (whilst not being able to do anything about it when they don't). Language is direct democracy.

Language Changes Due To Usage

And language evolves. This happens when enough people make changes to how they communicate and a new consensus forms. We vote with tongues and pens and the majority gains power. It's even fully proportional and inclusive, in that regions and dialects can choose to differ and have their own forms.

This evolution is why full stops are fading away from acronyms. We have an AI, not A.I., BBC not B.B.C. It’s why new words appear, new formations. It's why portmanteaus like chillax pop up. It's why separate words get merged with hyphens, then the hyphens eventually disappear as a form of evolution (electronic mail, e-mail, email). This isn't driven by rule-setters, it is driven by the people.

The meanings of words change too. The word "split" originally referred to a ship breaking up on rocks, but people widened the meaning to refer to anything that broke completely apart. Whereas the word "senile" used to refer to anything related to old age, but people narrowed the definition to refer specifically to those with senile dementia. Even the word "meat" didn't originally refer to animal flesh - it meant any food substance (so plant-based foods were also "meat" - worth bearing in mind as you read on).

In the same way, in primitive times when there weren't alternatives for items, words referred to the only form that was available. Nowadays the meanings have naturally broadened to include all the alternative forms. That's how people use language.

It would be ridiculous to try and use legislation to force words to go back into the primitive past, and over-rule the way people use language. Yet that is exactly what some politicians try to do, spurred on by the vested interests of industries they have connections to.

Politicians With Vested Dairy Interests

I once asked Who Determines What A Word Means? This was triggered by politicians wanting to redefine words to promote industries that were splashing cash around to influence politics (that's what lobbying often seems to be - legitimised bribery). The underlying reasons - to benefit one industry over another - are embarrassingly transparent. It's not surprising people suspect corruption in these cases.

In that case it was politicians with vested interests saying the word "milk" should only apply to one type of milk (dairy milk). And it wasn't just limited to the US. We already had a similar persecution in Europe in 2007, where the EU banned calling soya milk "soya milk" (Council Regulation 1234/2007). That's why it is now labelled "soya drink" on the carton, even though everyone in Europe and the rest of the world calls it soya milk. The words people use are ignored by politicians, as vested interests try and sway things. (The other tactic of dodgy industries is sending propaganda into schools under the guise of "educational materials" to try and brainwash children and legitimise their products: e.g. it has been done by the dairy industry, tobacco and oil industries, etc) It shows how out of touch these biased politicians are, and how dishonest they are in their use of law to interfere with language and people's commercial choices.

Let me drop this in here (and it's worth bearing in mind throughout my article):

"When people who have a duty to act on behalf of others, such as elected officials [...] shape the law to serve the interests of some private parties, a conflict of interest exists. [...] The failure of government officials to serve the public interest as a consequence of lobbying by special interests who provide benefits to the official is an example of agent misdirection." [Source]

Even twelve years after the EU said soya milk couldn't be sold as soya milk, you know what? People still call it soya milk. Because that's what it is. All the EU directive did is create a confusing mismatch between what a thing is, and what the EU allow it to be called. Sounds like 1984 Newspeak to me.

Let's just take a step back, in case any of you aren't sure about the definitions of "milk". The word "milk" not being exclusive to dairy products isn't a new thing: the OED's definition 2 of milk as plant-based is over 600 years old. That's authority.

"Milk" can refer to any white edible liquid. Dairy milk is just one type of milk; plant milk is another. If politicians really want to stick their oars in where they aren't needed or wanted, then instead of banning the terms "soya milk" and "plant milk" they could just say that it's a requirement to always include a prefix to "milk" to clarify the sub-type. So you'd go into a shop and see:

Dairy milk.
Oat milk.
Goat's milk.
Coconut milk.
Soya milk.
Almond milk.
(Outside of a shop we might talk about  human breast milk too, which also isn't from a cow.)

There is no ambiguity with this system. No confusion. No favouritism. No attempt to over-rule how people use language. No hints of shady bribes from vested interests. Just sensible decisions.

Too much to ask, maybe. Unfortunately, Europe has an insidious historic bias in favour of animal agriculture. It gives EU dairy farmers alone more than €970 million in subsidies every year, and runs schemes such as the European School Milk Scheme “to encourage children to consume milk and milk products and develop a lasting habit of doing so.” This shifts more than 27,000 tonnes of dairy products some years, at taxpayer costs of over £8 million.

So it wasn't surprising that this bias happened in Europe again in 2017:

"In 2017 the European court of justice ruled that plant-based products such as soya and tofu should not be sold as milk or butter. It said dairy terms could only be used while marketing designated animal products, after complaints from German competition regulators about the German firm Tofutown’s tofu butter, veggie cheese and rice spray cream products." [Source]

The European court of justice and the politicians are not even consistent: "Cocoa butter, coconut milk and salad cream were exempted under EU law." They openly admit that these terms (milk, butter, cream) are widely used for both dairy and non-dairy products, but the hypocrites are only interested in trying to diminish the profitability of plant sources that compete with the animal industries they favour - the industries that some people believe will pay the biggest bribes. And yet these bodies of politicians and civil servants are meant to support all agriculture (i.e. plant-based agriculture too), not just animal agriculture. There is something very suspicious here.

Yet More Politicians Trying To Over-ride How People Use Language

And it is still happening.

I saw this on The Guardian today: ‘Veggie discs’ to replace veggie burgers in EU crackdown on food labels

In a move that some MEPs suspect bears the fingerprints of the meat industry, the parliament’s agriculture committee this week approved a ban on producers of vegetarian food using nomenclature usually deployed to describe meat.

The protected designations would include steak, sausage, escalope, burger and hamburger, under a revised regulation that passed with 80% approval. The measures will now be voted on by the full parliament after May’s European elections, before being put to member states and the European commission.

The French socialist MEP Éric Andrieu, responsible for overseeing the legislation, said the prohibition was just “common sense” and he appealed to Europeans’ sense of foodie history.

“The meat lobby is not involved in this,” he said. “It has generated a considerable debate among the political groups and a large majority wanted to clarify things. Particularly in the light of history, the history we share, you can have a steak or burger, you can’t call it something else.”

The decision to protect meat-related terms and names “exclusively for edible parts of the animals” was firmly opposed by NGOs such as Greenpeace and Birdlife who insisted it presented a blow against sustainable food."
[...] Under article 17 of regulation (EU) no 1169/2011, names currently used for meat products and meat preparations will be reserved exclusively for products containing meat, MEPs have decided.

"The meat lobby is not involved in this," Éric Andrieu said. "Bollocks," I say. It's so obvious where their preference and protectionism is coming from. These same bodies, that want to redefine language and try to attack plant-based food products, certainly wouldn't intervene if the profits of farmers who grew sprouts or soy beans or potatoes were affected because fewer people wanted to buy them any more. It's just a weird bias for animal products. If you have never heard of the resulting butter mountains and milk lakes, read this. Such extravagant waste, despite all the suffering caused in the creation of those products.

(Aside: note that consumer choice is the other important democracy - when you buy anything, you vote with your wallet. Fewer people are voting for animal products in the modern world, for various compelling reasons.)

If this really isn't something coming from the meat lobby (which sounds like a disgusting part of a hotel in a horror novel) then why aren't they also targeting products like "fish fingers" and "fish cakes"? By their same argument, "fish cakes are not cakes so should be renamed as fish discs". Which shows how hypocritical some of these MEPs are. 

You know what this is like? If some company that still made old dial telephones started lobbying politicians and throwing money around to persuade them that they should pass legislation so that their competitors who made popular smartphones couldn't call them "phones" because they don't have dials and plug into a phone line. If that happened we'd all know who was in the pocket, or deranged.

The Worst Kind Of European Reputation

The thing that pisses me off most about this is that, at a time when so many of us are fighting to stay in Europe (because there are a lot of good things about it), we have European politicians pushing bizarre anti-consumer, pro-animal agriculture laws from motivations that look either corrupt, stupid, or out-of-touch. Possibly all three. These people cast Europe into disrepute and are responsible for providing the fuel for every pro-Brexit paranoiac.

I suspect it is part of the reason why the UKs Brexit is such a mismanaged clusterfuck. The options were "stay in Europe" and "leave Europe", as if it is a black and white issue. The world isn't like that. People aren't like that. What we have is greys, mixtures of good and bad. I voted to Remain, but really I'd have liked an option "Remain, but work harder to reform the bad stuff." That bad stuff would include Europe's historical pro-dairy, pro-animal-agriculture attitudes that are a relic of the past, knee-jerk responses to a post-war period that is long gone, but where the protectionism has become part of the culture and remains long after it has become outdated.

And here we are, at a critical time, when I'm hoping the current UK's mood (which has shifted overall to Remain after people saw what a disaster Brexit would be) will lead to Britain cancelling Brexit and staying in the EU ... and yet we have irresponsible politicians in the EU playing games with language for their "special friends" and pulling anti-democratic, anti-consumer, pro-big-business shady shit like this. Those politicians and bodies should be ashamed of their role.

They are out of touch with the fastest-growing food trends to move away from animal products to healthier plant-based options. (If you wonder about that - there are many recent scientific recommendations for people to adopt a predominantly plant-based diet for a sustainable future and good health.) This is the response of industries running scared from the rise in veganism, leading to reactionary and outdated defensive protectionism. The response from these pro-meat politicians doesn't even make sense. Do they really think that by messing with names the end result will be vegans or vegetarians who get confused and buy a beef burger rather than a nut burger? This is not going to boost sales for a flagging industry that puts profit above compassion.

I am very angry today. Let's be clear - I'm not arguing about what should or shouldn't be sold. Only that politicians shouldn't try to redefine words to favour particular industries that they may or may not have shady connections with.

Back To Basics - Definitions

I already covered milk earlier. In short: there are many types of milk, both plant based and animal based. It's the same with cheese, yoghurt, and any other product that has both dairy and non-dairy options. Dairy cheese and non-dairy cheese. Soy yoghurt and cow's milk yoghurt. Cocoa butter, dairy butter, soya butter and peanut butter. There's no confusion when we give the complete combination of noun plus source.

Other foods are no different.

A sausage isn't defined by its ingredients. A pile of pork is not a sausage. A round patty of mincemeat is not a sausage. A sausage is defined by its appearance - shape and consistency (which can also include colour, smell, taste). It has to be an elongated edible food formed from a mushy substance, possibly with the addition of herbs and spices. Then the sub-type is governed by the main ingredients.
A sausage could be a pork sausage. It could be a vegetable sausage.

Same with burgers. It could be a beef burger. A mushroom burger. A lentil burger. A nut burger. A tofu burger. A seitan burger.

(Fuck it, if they really cared about making it clear where things came from, beef burgers would be labelled as cow burgers; pork sausages as pig sausages. But they don't really care about accuracy or clarity, they care about protecting the interests of certain industries.)

Agriculture and Rural Development Committee [AGRI]

So, who is responsible for trying to pass this pro-meat industry legislation? The Agriculture and Rural Development [AGRI]. You can find the members of the AGRI committee here. Based on this vote, 80% of them seem to be anti-vegetarian/vegan/plant-based foods, and pro-meat industry (for whatever reason: whether bias, ignorance, corruption, or something else).

I have contacted every member of that committee which was easily contactable (e.g. Michel Dantin's email address was "undeliverable"), and may later add a summary of which ones replied and what they said.


We live in a world of pluralities. There are alternatives. We all know them. Only outdated or corrupt politicians would deny this, and try to change the meaning of words to benefit their hidden agendas. Our representatives should not be making rules to benefit vested interests. Yet that is what we are seeing. And that corrupt shit needs to be challenged.

These proposals are part of an ongoing process of trying to use law to control language, that ultimate democratic thing determined by usage. They are trying to overturn the billions of votes to use language a certain way and force through their own narrow agendas. That’s as anti-democratic as it could possibly be. This secret war of redefinition and favouritism, which looks like the worst kind of corruption and abuse of power, has to stop.

Words gain definitions through how the mass of people use them, and definitions change all the time. You either live in your current culture, or cling in panic to some imaginary past like a panicked Brexiteer. Unfortunately, incomprehensibly, and paradoxically, that’s how a small part of the European Government is acting, and has been acting for many years.

Moving Forward

I'll be contacting various MEPs and NGOs about this, and including any relevant responses in the form of updates. Hopefully this shitty proposed legislation will be overturned at the plenary session and then during negotiations between Parliament and Council.

Still, there are a number of questions.
  • How did each of the members of the Agriculture and Rural Development [AGRI] vote? Who were the 80% who voted for this nonsense?
  • Where is the list of the vested interests of those 80%? What contacts and friends and acquaintances do they have in the meat and dairy industries? What payments have they or their parties received from industry lobbyists? How could they be investigated for potential bias and corruption?
  • How can these dodgy pieces of legislation be permanently overturned? That includes Council Regulation 1234/2007; the 2017 European court of justice ruling that plant-based products such as soya and tofu should not be sold as milk or butter; and article 17 of regulation (EU) no 1169/2011.
  • How can the EU be encouraged to make an overarching statement that acknowledges what the words actually mean to European citizens and the rest of the world? The EU needs to accept that milk, cheese, yoghurt, burgers, sausages, whatever, exist in multiple forms, multiple ingredients, both animal and plant-based. They should show no favouritism. If any definitions are required, make it an onus on all products, animal and plant based, to include the derivation, as I have delineated above. Dairy milk and soya milk. Beef burger and lentil burger. Pork sausage and vegetable sausage. That would be clear for consumers, match how language is actually used, be unambiguous, exclude bias, permit no vested interests, and allow no potential for corruption.
  • European agricultural policy should be aimed at organic plant-based foods. They should be anti-GMO, and push for foods grown as naturally and seasonally as possible, limiting food miles, removing unnecessary packaging and waste etc. That would be a direction for the future that Europe could be proud of. Not this cringeworthy protectionism, transparently influenced by big money fears from industries resistant to change. The politicians should realise that we are heading towards a more compassionate, democratic, sustainable, and caring future. Attempting to apply punitive measures to stop that is just an example of pettiness.

Update: 2019-04-09 MEP replies

I contacted my six MEPs, replies as follows:
  • Ian Hudghton [Scottish National Party]: No reply.
  • David Martin [Labour Party]: No reply.
  • Nosheena Mobarik [Conservative Party]: No reply.
  • Alyn Smith [Scottish National Party]: No reply.
  • Catherine Stihler [Labour Party]: Auto reply: "Catherine will no longer be a Member of the European Parliament from the 31st January 2019 and consequently her office will be permanently closed from this date."
  • David Coburn [The Brexit Party]: No reply.
On the plus side, I received a useful and supportive reply from Molly Scott Cato MEP (Green Party). It's a shame we don't have more Green Party politicians - which comes down to how we vote in elections.

Update: 2019-04-17 MEP replies

I haven't had a reply from any of my six MEPs. I also contacted every one of the members of the AGRI committee. None of them have replied either. I think that is some proof that this group of MEPs cares nothing about democracy and representation, they are just following their own suspicious agendas.

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

Comments On Lost Solace

I recently ran a Hidden Gems promo for Lost Solace (as I had done for They Move Below). At the end of it Hidden Gems passed on the comments they'd received from their readers. It was all good, but here are my favourites, because they tied the novel into gaming (and my novels normally have flavours of many different sources):

"This book was very good had a hint of Halo to it with interesting concepts about the AI. Would like to read a second instalment."

Ha, it will be with us so very soon ... :-) I did play the first Halo game. I was always disappointed that the series wasn't available on Windows (and, now that they are coming, they will require a crappy Microsoft account to play - which means I won't be buying them!)

"Solid book. Well written. I enjoyed it. Liked the Wing Commander take down of the heavy cruiser."

And I love the detail of this one, especially as I spent many years playing role-playing games with friends, and Turner was partly born from a role-playing game I devised and ran for friends:

"You know the beginning of your story reminded me of a roleplaying game session, using the Stars without Numbers game, I ran several years ago. A salvage crew having to board a starship that was in the decaying orbit of a star. In that though the prize was a briefcase containing life extending drugs. The group found the briefcase and successfully left the ship... They could have saved the ship...
Your story goes well beyond all that of course. I really liked the idea of the lure-ship. I'm just letting you know I am going to borrow your idea if I ever run another science fiction session. Good book, nice story. Believable characters."

A few other quotes:

"Outstanding writing"

"The book was a fun read. I like that the main character is a female. You don't see that in a lot of science fiction books. This was definitely a well-written space adventure with plenty of action and a lot of creepy mystery. I loved the friendship between Opal and her AI companion Clarissa. It's a very satisfying story and I enjoyed it very much!"

Finally, unrelated to Hidden Gems, a fan shared this with me today - they had posted it on Facebook, and it adds up to an excellent summary of why people seem to find Lost Solace so appealing:

"Lost Solace has been described as a "Haunted house story set in space", which I've found to be an accurate description. The premise is that our protagonist, "Opal", has absconded with a secret, advanced military spacecraft with an experimental A.I. on board, named "Clarissa". She is searching for what is known in the fictional universe, as a "Lost Ship", as she believes her sister went missing on one. Without giving anything away, a Lost Ship is basically a Mary Celeste type of deal, a mysterious ghost ship. The book shares some similarities with the film "Event Horizon", which is all I'll give away.
What follows is a great story, equal parts creepy, funny, riveting, and action-packed. One of the real highlights here is the relationship between Opal and Clarissa, as Clarissa is such an advanced A.I., she makes a fantastic partner to Opal, and their banter, joking around, and genuine affection for each other is really quite touching.
As well as that, I find that male authors usually really struggle to write female characters. That is not the case here at all. It's a very genuine sounding story, with genuine characters, despite all the eldritch horrors contained within it."

I always appreciate the lengths fans go to in order to spread the word about their love for my books - it really does mean a lot, and help my career. If, of some mad reason, you want to see what else people have said about Lost Solace, check out the review quotes on the book's page.

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

Say Hello To Chasing Solace

People have been asking me questions for a long time.

"What happened next?"
"When's book 2 coming out?"
"Does Opal find what she's looking for?"
"How's Athene/Clarissa?"
"Do you actually do any writing, or just spend all day on social media?"
"Where's my biscuits?"

(Actually, that last one was just my cat, Dolly.)

Well, the lot of you can shut up. I've done it. I've written words. I've rewritten words. I've re-re-written words. And again, just to be sure. I've polished. I've tidied. I've cut. I've remixed. Then, when my beta readers suggested new scenes, I went off and wrote those. And now, my fine people, it's time. Time to announce:

Chasing Solace! [Dum dum dum brakkabrakkabrakka etc]

Book 2. The sequel to the much-loved Lost Solace.

And it was time to turn the dial up to eleven.

Lost Solace is 58,500 words. Chasing Solace is 95,500 words.
Lost Solace had one setting. Chasing Solace has more.
Lost Solace featured a big and creepy spaceship. Chasing Solace features [redacted, but it's an eleven, for sure].
Lost Solace forced Opal to face numerous threats. Chasing Solace has smarter threats.
And so on.

Publication day (yay yay yay) for the e-book version is 15th April 2019. The paperback release will come at a later date. You can even pre-order the e-book. It's $1 cheaper to buy it now than it will be on release day. I'm probably going to do a discount deal on Lost Solace so that people who have never experienced this world can get both books at a cheaper price. I'll announce that at a later date.

I also have a newsletter you can sign up to: the next issue will include a free preview of the opening of Chasing Solace for my newsletters subscribers, so sign up if you want that preview. Or wait. Up to you. I don't care. I already know what happens. I've read it twenty times (though it is still good).

Remember: 15th April 2019 is Publication Party Day!

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

My Books Are Now On Google Play

As of today, my e-books are also available on Google Play (you'll find a full list of distributors here).

I want to make things as easy as possible for my fans, which is why my books are available from every store (including bricks and mortar), rather than being exclusive to Amazon.

Also note that Google Play often reduces the prices of books, as they have done on all my titles immediately after publication there!

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

Comments On They Move Below

I recently ran a Hidden Gems promo for my creepy story collection They Move Below. At the end of it Hidden Gems passed on the comments they'd received from their readers. It was all good, but here were my favourites:

"The stories and the way they were written reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe. Very good, will recommend it to my friends and family."

"Loved this book!!!"

"Short, Scary, Snacks...With Bite"

"This is a book of short stories, each seemingly so short that it's hard to account for how disturbing they are. The title story really got me, but they all left me with deliciously dreadful images that will be hard to forget. I loved it!"

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!

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