TV Project Updates

Thought it was about time to let people know something (*nothing*) about the TV projects I have in the works. In the TV world, just about everything operates beneath the surface.  Contracts prevent anyone talking about a series until it has definitely been greenlit by a broadcaster, and, usually, the broadcaster has made the first announcement. Which is absolutely right.

So, as vague as I can get away with:

Project Spitfire is with a major producer, with a director and (well-known) star attached. Waiting for the nod to move on to the next stage, which is imminent.

Project Hurricane has a well-known executive producer and has a completed and locked down pilot script.  Waiting to get this under a broadcaster’s nose.

Project B52 is in the early stages of development with a well-known producer and is awaiting notes.

(Don’t read anything into the project titles.)

Meanwhile, I’m moving ahead rapidly on the next novel for Penguin Random House, following on from Dark Age, which will be published in a couple of weeks.

Check out an old post about how you need to juggle projects in multiple media if you want to make a go of being a writer in the current age: The 21st Century Writer.

New Fiction For You – The Halloween Country

Here’s the first chapter of a project bubbling in the background. No publisher planned yet. No idea when I might get to it. But I have the whole story in my head. If you like it, spread the word – I might be encouraged to finish it sooner rather than later – and leave any comments below.





“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ~ Oscar Wilde


The dead never leave us.

When you sleep, they whisper in your dreams. Sometimes they will chastise, or they will lie, for they like nothing more than to show their power over those still lost in the fog of life. And sometimes, if the need is great enough, they will come with warnings. This is a Truth, as Yagzid’s father had told him when he was a boy, and which he had passed on to his own children.

The hut was cold and his breath steamed. Yagzid eased himself up from the clean straw of his bed, inhaling the fruity tang of horse dung. A few embers still glowed in the hearth. His dream lingered. When he closed his eyes again, he could see the figure looming out of the shadows, half-ivory, half-sable, and though the face was unclear, Yagzid could feel the fierceness of the gaze. There had been a voice, like bones tumbling upon ice. A message delivered in urgent tone, but the language was strange and indecipherable.

Yagzid shuddered.

His joints ached from the chill as he hauled himself to his feet, pulling on his hide breeches, and his furs and his leather hat. He clapped his hands to warm himself and then slipped on his shoes and stepped out into the morning. The sky was silver. He winced as the north wind cut right through him. Beyond the village, the flat steppes slumbered under hard ice.

He trudged over frozen whorls of mud to his neighbour’s hut. Hoppal was a sour man. He liked his drink too much and he scorned friend and enemy alike. But Yagzid knew the squat man still mourned his wife, and missed his sons who had followed the great river into the west, and so he forgave him. In the enclosure, Hoppal tended to the horses, muttering to himself as he tossed handfuls of fresh hay. The steeds roamed around him like wilful children, stamping their hooves and snorting white clouds.

“No snow today,” Yagzid said, pretending to scrutinise the sky.

“Fool. Those clouds are filled with snow,” Hoppal replied.

“There will only be a little, though.”

“It will come so hard your roof will bow and likely break. If you do not have enough meat stored, you will starve. Do not come asking me for scraps.”

Yagzid nodded. He watched the horses for a long moment, remembering his father teaching him to ride when he was barely old enough to walk. He missed the comfort of those days. “I had a dream last night.”

Hoppal continued to throw out hay as if he had not heard.

“A man, stepping out of the shadows. Bigger than a man. A giant, perhaps. And when he looked at me, I thought that I might die,” Yagzid continued.

The other man came to a halt, rigid, and then he slowly turned and glowered. “I had that same dream. As did Baina, and Yeinis…” He looked across the trails of grey smoke rising from the morning fires. “Every man here. And no doubt every woman and child too, if you asked them.”

Yagzid furrowed his brow. A dream shared by all? He felt a queasy apprehension. “What does this mean?”

Hoppal hunched his shoulders and returned to feeding the horses. He did not want to be troubled by such thoughts. Yet Yagzid knew he would not be free of the dream’s spell until he had answers. He trudged back among the thatched huts and found Baina hacking at a carcass with his best knife. From there he visited Yeinis cutting the black peat for the fires, and then he wandered to the longhouse where the women had gathered around Monas who had her blood-week.

Everywhere the tale was the same. A dream of dread, and a warning.

As the grey clouds gathered overhead, Yagzid took his bow and hunted grouse. He mended the enclosure fence and broke the ice on the horses’ water troughs. Nothing distracted him. He could feel the suffocating blanket of his worries press down. When he found himself repeatedly peering across the white wastes towards the horizon, he made his way back to the hut where he found his wife hovering over the stew for the night’s meal.

“You must eat without me tonight,” he said. He thought about making up some story – a bolted horse, perhaps – but he could not bring himself to lie to her. “I go into the woods.”

A shadow crossed her face, but she nodded and he felt thankful that she did not question him. “Come back to me,” she murmured, she prayed.

Pulling on his thickest furs, he strode out north, bowing his head into the wind. He’d only walked this path once before, but few walked it more than once. The answers they found at the end were usually enough for a lifetime.

After a while, the snow began to fall. Hoppal had been right after all. Eddies of flakes whisked around, and the world began to close in. Soon, a band of charcoal smudged the white landscape ahead. A tangled wall of stark trees loomed out of the flurries. Deep shadows nestled beyond. The wood brooded at the back of the village’s collective mind, always, home of food, deer, rabbit, grouse, home of enemies, the packs of wolves who roamed out to the edge of the settlement in the heart of winter. And haunted too, so the old women said. Peer among the trees at twilight and you would see black-eyed faces staring back. The wood and dreams, then, were one and the same. A half-world somewhere between life and death.

Pushing his troubling thoughts to one side, Yagzid picked his way over snaking roots along the narrow path into the trees. Light faded. The boom of the wind in his ears ebbed. A stillness descended, punctured only by the crunch of his feet. The path was well-marked and he knew better than to stray from it. He smelled damp wood, and occasionally a hint of smoke. Not far now, he reassured himself.

Yet as the path plunged past outcropping rock and frozen streams glinting with hoar-frost, his nostrils wrinkled at a familiar odour. His thoughts flew back to Baina and the hut where the cattle were drained from a cut at the throat before they were prepared for the pot.

His brow furrowed as he peered through the trees. Stepping over the trunk of a lightning-blasted fir, he looked across a clearing to his left. Bodies, what remained of them, were strewn across the frozen ground. Yagzid’s throat narrowed and he croaked a prayer. Glistening organs laid bare to the bitter air. Skulls split, chests ragged, limbs twisted and torn. He counted four dead, a hunting party perhaps. One face was turned towards him, eyes rolled back to white. Unfamiliar. Not from the village, then. That gave him some meagre comfort.

Through gritted teeth, Yagzid sucked in a deep, calming breath, and as he did he realised the remains steamed in the cold. Fresh. His eyes darted all around. Would that he had brought something hard and sharp to defend himself.

The crack of a breaking branch retorted. He whirled and squinted through the flurries. Another crash ahead. Now his heart began to thunder. The magnitude of the sounds shaped an image of something huge and powerful. Yagzid retreated a few steps along the path, but he was afraid to show his back to whatever stalked around him. Instead he became as rigid as the hard earth, and he hoped that whatever hunted would not catch his scent.

Snorts reverberated, drawing nearer. After a moment, a bear crashed into the clearing. If the beast reared up on its hind legs, it would be half his height again, and it was as broad as a cart. The fur was dark brown, shading into black in the thin light, the snout still sticky with the blood of its victims. Grunts rumbled deep in its throat, like a saw tearing through wood. Yagzid had killed a bear once. He remembered how the blood bubbled up when he drove the spear through its heart. But it had taken eight of them from the village to bring it down, and Divash had lost his arm.

That huge head moved slowly from side to side, surveying the clearing, searching, perhaps, for the source of the spoor it smelled on the breeze. And then it turned its full attention towards him. Yagzid jolted. The black eyes burned with a fierce intelligence of a kind he had never seen in any other animal.

“Step off the path so I can see you clearly,” it said.

Yagzid felt all the warmth drain from him.

“Step closer,” it growled.

A voice in the back of his head told him that if he did as the bear commanded he would never see his wife again. “What thing are you?” he croaked. In silence, the bear levelled its searching gaze for a long moment. Yagzid felt insects crawling inside his head. “What are you?” he whispered once more.

“You should not have come here, Yagzid.”

He trembled at the sound of his name rumbling from the bear’s throat. He imagined predatory eyes watching him every night from the deep dark, evil circling his life while he went about his business oblivious. “Why have you come here?”

“Step forward and I will tell you.”

Yet the demon-bear did not attack, even though he was defenceless. This puzzled him for a moment, until he realised that he had been asked to leave the path three times. “I will remain here,” he replied with as much confidence as he could muster.

The beast growled. It swiped at one of the bodies with its huge paw, spattering blood across the snow. “Your father despises the man you have become.”

Yagzid flinched. His father had been lost in the crashing white water of the great river during the spring floods, five years gone. His body had never been found. With one long, black claw, the beast toyed with a pale string of entrails , as it toyed now with him. Demons lied, every man knew that. But still he saw his father’s face and felt a deep despair gnaw at his heart.

The bear seemed to tire of him. It flicked the entrails to one side and looked around the clearing one more time before heaving its bulk away. As it reached the tree-line, it half-turned and once again fixed its unearthly, unblinking gaze upon him. “This world has slumbered long, but soon it will wake. Cold, it will be then, Yagzid. Too cold for the likes of you.”

The bear lurched away with a rolling gait. As it moved among the stark trees, a strange thing happened. Yagzid saw the sparse woods ahead appear to open in upon themselves, as if they were a scene painted upon a barn door. Beyond lay a lush forest, dense and shimmering in a summery glow. Shafts of sunlight punched through the verdant canopy. Once the bear had pushed its way into the undergrowth, that place closed off and the wintry woods reappeared.

Yagzid gaped. As he blinked away his tears of fear, he saw that the snow had stopped falling and the drifts now reached above his ankles. Surely only moments had passed, not the hour or more it would have taken for the white folds to reach that depth? He shook his head to clear his lurching thoughts, muttered a prayer of thanks for his survival, and then hurried along the frozen path in case the thing changed its mind.

The day grew colder. Yagzid could see the turfed roof of the house as he neared the heart of the woods. It was barely discernible from its surroundings, yellowing grass poking through a mound of snow perched atop low walls of mud bricks and timber the colour of iron. Gnarled trees and banks of bramble pressed tight against it. A thin trail of grey smoke rose up into the tree-tops.

Yagzid slowed his step, torn between his apprehension of what lay ahead and his fear of what was at his back. When he had steadied himself, he edged along the moss-stained, cracked flagstones of the path and hammered on the door. All was silent. After a moment, he shivered as he heard a heavy tread approach the entrance. When the door swung open, a blast of warm, smoky air swept out, tinged with the aromas of strange spices and old dust. Yagzid took a step back. A figure almost as large as the bear loomed in the doorway. His long hair and beard were the colour of slate, and streaked with silver. His skin was darker than Yagzid’s and some had suggested he had come from the hot lands far to the south. His eyes were almond-shaped. His hands looked like they could crush a man’s skull between them. Furs and leather swathed him, despite the warmth of his home. Naram Sin had not aged a day since the last time Yagzid had visited, ten years gone. He remembered his father, and his grandfather swearing to this fact over their honey beer. “Naram Sin is one with the rocks of the earth,” his grandfather had slurred before coughing up a mouthful of phlegm and spitting it into the fire.

“Naram Sin,” Yagzid said, bowing his head.

“Why have you come here once more?” There was a lilting tone to his voice that belied his fierce appearance.

“I am afraid.”

“All men are afraid. That is the nature of men. You fear for yourself?”

“For my wife, my children, my village, the world.”

Naram Sin nodded as if this were the only correct answer. He stepped to one side. Yagzid edged in, his eyes wide. Even with the door open, the interior was gloomy, as if the light refused to enter. A log crackled in the hearth, and the flames sent shadows leaping. Circles and spirals and eyes and symbols that seemed to be some unfamiliar language had been etched in charcoal on the walls and floor. The skulls of small birds and woodland creatures hung on leather thongs from the high rafters. They made a chinking music as they stirred in the breeze.

Naram Sin slammed the door and Yagzid jumped. There was something too final about that noise. His neighbours in the village said some who visited this place for answers never returned home. Naram Sin would look into their hearts and judge them, and if they were not deemed worthy he would take their heads with his axe and bury their remains in shallow graves in the wood, a feast for the rats.

“Speak,” Naram Sin demanded. Restless, he prowled around the hut.

Yagzid felt unsettled by the constant movement, but he clasped his hands in front of him and tried not to stammer. He told of his dream and his fear that it was a warning from the dead. When he said this vision had been shared by all in the village, Naram Sin came to a sudden halt. Yagzid shuddered as eyes grown cold fixed upon him. “This warning,” the other man enquired, “what was said?”

Yagzid shook his head. “It was in some foreign tongue, I am sure. But whatever was said, I was filled with dread as if a part of me did know the meaning of those words.”

Silence fell across the hut for a long moment and then Naram Sin moved his lips. Yagzid heard a sound that could have come from anywhere. Though it was not loud, his ears rang and his head spun. He reeled back a step.

“Was that what you heard?” the other man asked.

“I…I cannot be sure. But I think it was.”

The other man bowed his head for a moment. Shadows flooded across his features.

“What does this dream mean?”

“It was not a dream,” Naram Sin muttered. He glanced towards a large chest near the hearth, his gaze lingering as if he was weighing a response.

“There is more.” In a halting tone, Yagzid described the scene of slaughter and his encounter with the thing that had pretended to be a bear. “And then…and then…” he continued, his words tumbling out with gathering speed, “a forest, a summer forest, appeared in the winter woods as if from nowhere, and the bear went into it, and…” His voice grew hushed. “…the forest was gone.” Yagzid lowered his eyes for fear the other man might think him mad. “Did I truly see this?”

Naram Sin smiled, a tight and unsettling expression with no hint of humour. “There are many ways of seeing the world, Yagzid. We take the information we are given and construct our view accordingly. Are we right to do so? Sometimes. But there is always more information.”

“What do these things mean?”

“They mean, young Yagzid…” He said young, though Yagzid had seen forty summers and had started to feel the cold in his bones. “…exactly what the bear told you. The world is waking from its long slumber.”

“That is not a good thing?”

“No. That is not a good thing.” Naram Sin tugged at his beard in deep thought for a long moment, and then his shoulders slumped and he heaved a deep sigh. He strode to the chest by the hearth and flicked open the lid. He drew out an axe and weighed it on the open palms of the hands, nodding as if greeting an old friend. Ancient, it seemed, the blade notched, the haft bound with worn leather straps.

Yagzid threw himself backwards. He stumbled over a stool and crashed on to his back. “Do not take my head with your axe!” he cried.

Naram Sin examined his weapon, his brow furrowed. “An axe. Is that what you see?” He looked back, grinning, not without kindness. “I will not take your head, Yagzid.”


“Not this day, at least.”

As Yagzid hauled himself to his feet, Naram Sin stripped off his furs. He found a leather harness in the same chest, strapped it on and slipped the axe on to his back. Once his furs were on, there was no sign that he carried a weapon. He plucked up a sack and moved steadily around the hut, throwing things into it.

“What now?”

“Now, I must venture out into the world.” His voice was heavy.

Yagzid gaped. As long as anyone in his village remembered, Naram Sin had never left the woods. His father and his father’s father and his father’s father’s father had all said the same. He felt troubled, as if the very rhythm of nature had been disrupted.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *


Naram Sin set Yagzid back on the way to the village with strict instructions not to stray from the path, for it was in truth a Songline and he was safe as long as he walked it. And then the bear-like man forged north, out of the woods, with his head bowed into the wind. The sun was setting and soon frost glistened in his beard. He marched across the frozen steppes until he came to a long bank of snow stretching in both directions as far as the eye could see. Lurching up the incline, he left deep foot-holes behind him, the only marks upon the world he had made in many a year. He crested the summit and skidded down the other bank until he came to the wide west road. As he watched the fat, red sun slip towards the horizon, he waited, feeling the bitter chill grow around him.

Eventually, he heard what sounded like the roar of a great beast in the east. He looked towards the sound, feeling a brief sting of regret for what he was leaving behind. Lights blazed in the growing gloom. The blare of an air-horn tore through the stillness. The eighteen-wheeler rumbled towards him from the direction of the Palvodar oil refinery on its way into the west.

Naram Sin stepped out into the road and held up his hand.


The 21st Century Writer

(Or: I am not a lazy git.)

It’s probably fair to say that about 80% of a writer’s labours are hidden from public view.  They’re the projects that never quite come together, or never get picked up, for a whole variety of reasons.  The pitches that seem to be going somewhere, and then die at the last – and this is particularly true of the TV world, where only a tiny fraction of what is written actually makes it to the screen.  The articles that get bumped from magazines, or websites, or newspapers, because something more newsworthy has just surfaced.


I work at my writing constantly.  Five days a week, sometimes more.  It’s my job, it’s my life.  A book with my name on it may crop up once a year, sometimes with even longer breaks, so it’s easy to think I while away my hours drinking in the local pub or wandering the world, watching the clouds pass by.  (I do both, just not all the time.)  What you don’t get to hear about are all the pieces of work that never break surface, because: what’s the point?  But here’s what I have been doing:

No ‘Mark Chadbourn’ book recently?  That’s because I’ve been writing a series of books under the pseudonym I’ve reserved for historical fiction (to avoid confusion among readers, booksellers and marketing people) – James Wilde.  These books have made The Times best-seller list, so as people are keen to keep reading them, I feel an obligation to keep writing them.  I’ve just signed a three-book deal with Penguin Random House for a new series which will be of interest to James Wilde readers *and* Mark Chadbourn readers (particularly if you liked Age of Misrule).

I also work extensively as a screenwriter – 26 hours of produced work for the BBC under my belt to date.  I’m currently developing several new series for broadcasters around the world, and working on a film script.  My near-future SF series, Shadow State, is in the hands of a US network.  My book, Testimony, an investigation into a British Amityville, is being developed for UK and international TV.  I have a political thriller and a crime series also in development.  It’s a long road from here to any of these projects appearing on a screen near you, and they all might fall at any one of the numerous obstacles.  But, you know: paid work.

One of my favourite TV writers is Nigel Kneale, the creator of Quatermass, and I’m writing an extended piece about him for We Are The Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale, a new book looking at his life and work in TV and film.  This will be a great book with some fantastic contributors, so definitely check it out if you have any interest in F/SF/H, TV, film, or just the work of a quality writer.

And on top of all the writing and the endless, endless meetings, I do various talks, lectures, and signings here and there.  The next one is a screenwriting workshop at the Derby Book Festival Writers’ Day.

All of which makes an interesting point about what it takes to be a full-time writer in the 21st century.  Only a very,very few writers make a good living from novels.  A publishing industry on the ropes has slashed advances, and the black arts of publishing accounting means royalties sometimes take a while to surface in your bank (most authors don’t even make any royalties).  The choice for many is to hold down a full-time job and scribble away in the evenings.

But I like my freedom.  It’s been a long time since I was a wage-slave, working as a journalist on the national papers in London.  I’m pretty much unemployable now.  But I also like to eat.  And, you know, have an amazing time travelling the world and being louche in new locales.  So the wise thing is to cast my net wide and put my writing to work in different media.  Eggs/baskets etc.

But then, if you’re a writer, why wouldn’t you?  Story telling is the same all over.  Once you’ve mastered the new skill-set for a new medium, you’re drawing on the same natural ability wherever you’re employed: your ideas.

A film script is a palate-cleanser after a novel, and vice versa.  Journalism and comics and TV all have their particular joys, and they all complement each other.  In the multi-media, cross-platform, constantly mutating 21st century, why would any writer want to limit their storytelling to only one area?


New Ebooks On The Way

Ebook versions of my out-of-print titles will be published in the coming weeks. These will be enhanced versions, with corrected copy and in some cases additions to text. They will also include detailed commentaries – background to the story, how the book came to be written and how it reached publication. The information, tips and knowledge here will be of particular interest to aspiring writers.

In the pipeline are Lord of Silence, Scissorman, The Eternal, Nocturne, The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke, and a collection of rare short stories and novellas, as well as a look-back at the ‘lost’ and possibly cursed non-fiction book Testimony.

If you have any preferences for publication order, let me know.

New Site, New Age

Here’s the new website.  It’s only been, what, three years in the coming…

I needed to pull together the old information site at the .net address and the Jack of Ravens blog, and hopefully keep it up-to-the-minute – particularly as there’s a lot happening in the near future, including the ‘lost’ books, novellas and short stories being made available in e-book format.

Any comments or suggestions for changes and improvements will all be appreciated.

New Worlds, No Maps

Stepping into that strange liminal space of thinking about a new book.  Exciting, certainly.  Scary too.  Strange connections are made as the universe, or the unconscious, recognises what you’re doing, pulling things out of the aether and thrusting them under your nose.  Images, music, places, people, dreams, serendipitous discoveries, all have a part to play.

I might document a few here, without comment.  Will it be possible to see where I’m heading from outside my head?  That would be interesting to know.  Perhaps there really is more clarity from that objective viewpoint.

I have an idea of the *kind* of book I want to write, but that’s about all the restrictions I’m placing on myself.  The general direction.  North by northwest.  But no destination is in mind.  I like the thrill of setting out for the horizon and seeing where I finally roll up.  It has to be new.  I’m not interested in repeating what I’ve done before.  I want to discover things, for myself as well as for the people who read my books.

Reports from the journey may pop up on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, on Jack of Ravens and Posterous.  Interested parties should look for the tag #oneiroi

The Aliens Have Won

SF writer Charlie Stross has an excellent analysis of why so many people now feel politically powerless.

He asks why is the world so clearly going wrong and why can’t anyone fix it. His proposal is that the problem can be laid at the door of corporations, which are hive organisms “constructed out of teeming workers who join or leave the collective: those who participate within it subordinate their goals to that of the collective, which pursues the three corporate objectives of growth, profitability, and pain avoidance. (The sources of pain a corporate organism seeks to avoid are lawsuits, prosecution, and a drop in shareholder value.)”

Potentially immortal, they exist mainly in the present, with little regard for the past or the long-term future, and are essentially sociopathic forms, he says. Utilising Governments and the media to achieve their ends, they have spread across the globe. And he concludes: “We are now living in a global state that has been structured for the benefit of non-human entities with non-human goals… In short, we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion.”

Which certainly captures a huge part of the depersonalisation of the 21C world. There is another side, though, which concerns the defence of the human race against the alien invaders. The only people who can stop these conquerors are not eggheads with whiteboards or staunch, plucky workers, but politicians.

One of the central beliefs of politics is that politicians always fight the campaign of two elections ago – eight to ten years. They’re looking back to what worked and what didn’t. Their beliefs are shaped during their formative years and rarely change. But with the rapid and accelerating social and technological change of the last decade, eight years ago might as well be fifty. We essentially have 20th century people trying to fight 21st century problems.

The other issue is the decline of the political party system. Before the 1980s, political parties were mass membership organisations, numbering in some cases well over a million members. Now the main parties claim a tiny fraction of that number – and this is true across the west.

In the UK (and in many other countries), candidates are chosen from the party membership. As numbers decline, so does the talent base. Most parties are now down to a rump of unrepresentative activists, who may be decent-hearted and fuelled by a belief in their principles, but are not a deep source of the kinds of talent we need in the 21C.

So the aliens have indeed taken over, and our defenders simply aren’t up to the job of organising the resistance. Meanwhile, we face some of the worst problems ever to afflict the human race. As Charlie points out, that’s not the end of the debate, it’s the beginning…

Tate Britain Appearance

Yesterday I gave a very successful lecture at the world-famous Tate Britain art gallery in London, entitled ‘Myth, Memory and the Art of Richard Dadd’. The event was a sell-out, and also pretty ground-breaking on several fronts. I was one of the first – if not the first – genre writer to be invited to the Tate to give a lecture for one of their rightly-acclaimed study days. And personally, it was one of the most high-profile appearances I’ve made.

I only have praise for the staff and academics at the Tate who treated both myself, and the genre, with a great deal of respect. Before the lecture, the audience toured the gallery to see Dadd’s work and many took the opportunity to ask me about my opinions on the artist and his work. After that I gave the lecture, touching on not only my interest in Dadd and my novella about his most famous painting, ‘The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke’, but also about other authors influenced by Dadd – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Angela Carter, Robert Rankin and more. We followed this with an at times intense debate with an art historian about the meaning of Dadd’s work, and a couple of readings from The Fairy Feller novella.

The novella has gone from strength-to-strength since it won the British Fantasy Award four years ago. The limited edition by PS Publishing has nearly sold out, and the added attention from this Tate event has created interest from across the world. Now I need to find a mainstream publisher interested in reprinting it as part of a collection so it can reach a wider audience.


The Burning Man Cover Copy

..has just been agreed:

Old gods never die. They wait for the right time to regain their grip on humanity.

In Egypt, in Greece, China, frozen northern Europe, America, ancient forces are awakening. Only a handful of heroes know the truth and stand ready to defend our modern world from powers rooted in a more brutal, terrifying time.

But behind it all lurks something even worse. The god of gods.

The Burning Man is coming…

The Burning Man – Here’s The Cover

Ask ten authors how their covers get made and you’ll probably get ten different answers. Luckily I’m not one of those who reels with nausea when they open a package to find for the first time the completed cover art, usually looking like it should go on a totally different book, if not genre.

For a while now, my editor has always asked me for detailed cover briefs – probably because she thinks it saves months of authorial moaning, whinging and foot-stamping once the cover process has begun. And that’s just how I like it. I have a clear vision for my novels – so why shouldn’t I have one for the illustration?

My personal tastes run to a more designery style. I find the representational style of too many genre covers tired and dated.

The Burning Man is scheduled for February 2008 and you can get a first look at the cover here.

And if you don’t like it, you now know who should be blamed…