A significant book birthday to mark… my first novel, STRAIGHT TO YOU, was published 25 years ago yesterday. That’s literally half my life ago! It’s crazy to look back at how pretty much everything has changed since that first release. Back then, in the analogue world of 1996, the book’s publication came after months of queries, submissions, and rejections, followed by many more months of long-winded edits and approvals, all done by post. All that work could be carried out in a fraction of the time now, without moving from my desk.
And I’m equally unrecognisable from the inexperienced dweeb who wrote that first book. I’ve written before about how I changed, and how that eventually resulted in me completely re-writing the novel in 2014. And I can’t stress this enough – if you’re going to read STRAIGHT TO YOU, please stick to the newer version!
But the one thing that has remained constant throughout – and forgive me here for being a little corny and pretentious – is the absolute buzz of writing. A quarter of a century further down the line, and it remains an incredibly rewarding job/hobby/thrill/passion. Thank you for reading my grim nonsense all these years!
If you’ve not read STRAIGHT TO YOU, it’s available as an ebook and paperback from all the usual retailers. An audiobook version is available here. And if you’ve the stomach for reading the original, a handful of hardback copies remain available from the original print run.
Today’s the day. THE BLEED: ARMAGEDDON, by CHRIS PHILBROOK, MARK TUFO, and I has hit the shelves. The book brings the wild ride of THE BLEED trilogy to a close, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. Print, eBook, and an Audible exclusive audiobook versions are available.
I hope by now that you’ve had chance to listen to the audiobook version of AUTUMN: DAWN. I think it’s my favourite audio adaptation of any of my novels, and the reason for that is my brilliant narrator, AUBREY PARSONS. He’s done an absolutely stunning job of bringing the mass of characters that inhabit my dystopian AUTUMN world to life.
I thought it would be fun to ask Aubrey a few questions about his narration, to offer a glimpse into the huge amount of work that goes into producing audiobooks. It’s definitely not just a case of sitting down in front of a microphone and reading a novel out from cover to cover! First of all, I asked Aubrey how he got into the world of audiobook narration.
AP: I was a professional singer for 20 years. I spent a lot of that time working away and travelling the globe. It meant that I didn’t get to see much of my family and I had absolutely no social life. I did get to see a lot of the world and meet a lot of wonderful people but the toll it took on my social life and family eventually got to me. So, I decided to try something different. Since I already have my own small recording studio at home, I decided that maybe voiceover work was the way forward. I searched the Internet and found a couple of different courses and trained myself up to become a voice actor. I’ve always loved listening to audiobooks so it seemed to be the natural progression to work on them myself.
Obviously one of the most prolific suppliers of audio books in the world is AUDIBLE so I looked at their website and found out how I could become a producer for them. it took around three years for me to get myself trained and build a database of authors that I could work with to make things worthwhile. Then COVID came along which in a weird kind of way gave me the perfect opportunity to concentrate fully on my voiceover work. Everything happens for a reason I guess!
I asked Aubrey how he approaches narration. Does he read the book first, or just dive straight in?
September. How did that happen? 2021 is disappearing in a flash (though not quickly enough, some might say). A quick post to remind you that this month sees the release of the final book in THE BLEED series, THE BLEED: ARMAGEDDON, written by CHRIS PHILBROOK, MARK TUFO and I. It’s a breathless race to the end and if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series, I know you’ll enjoy this one. It hits the shelves on 21 September as an ebook, paperback (links to follow), and Audible exclusive audiobook.
Reality after reality is being destroyed by THE BLEED. With their options narrowing by the second, and with their group scattered far and wide across the multiverse, it’s down to less than 10 people to try and save the lives of billions upon billions of others.
If they fail, THE BLEED will rule. Nothing and no one else will survive.
IT ALWAYS BLEEDS THROUGH. THREE WORLDS. THREE AUTHORS. THE ULTIMATE APOCALYPSE.
I don’t tend to mark that many book anniversaries, but I noticed that the US release of AUTUMN: PURIFICATION is ten years old today. It’s frightening how fast the time passes. Even more frightening to think that the original Infected Books edition of the novel was released seven years earlier still. It feels like just five minutes ago.
I have a lot to thank PURIFICATION for. I learnt so much about writing while I was working on that book. The initial success of AUTUMN and then AUTUMN: THE CITY caught me off guard, and PURIFICATION was the first novel I wrote with the pressure of knowing that people were waiting for its release. It was the book where I realised just how much fun I could have with the living dead (I know how wrong that sounds), the book where I earned my chops and started to think big in terms of where I wanted the AUTUMN series to go.
On a personal level, much of the writing was done in my final year working in banking. I found myself managing a team of around 100 staff who’d all been given (myself included) around a year’s notice of redundancy – our jobs went overseas, and we didn’t. As the work volumes dwindled and the personnel issues mounted up, I used PURIFICATION as therapy. Their names were changed, of course, but quite a few members of my team ended up as featured zombies. When I got home from the office at night, I found there was something very cathartic about plotting imaginary fates for the folks who’d made my days such a challenge!
And here I am in 2021, writing even more AUTUMN books. AUTUMN: DAWN has gone down an absolute storm, and I’m making good progress on AUTUMN: INFERNO. But the fact is, if I hadn’t had such a positive experience with PURIFICATION, I doubt the series would have made it past book three.
There’s a vast amount of information about the entire AUTUMN series over at www.lastoftheliving.net. AUTUMN: INFERNO updates incoming shortly.
I’ve been on something of a DAVID LYNCH kick this year. I recently re-watched his version of DUNE (which was both as incredible and as terrible as I remember), and I’m about a third of the way through TWIN PEAKS (again). But I think the Lynch film that had the biggest impact on me was his first movie, ERASERHEAD. When I recommended CARNIVAL OF SOULS a couple of weeks ago, I talked about BBC’s MOVIEDROME. ERASERHEAD was another movie I discovered through the series, and some thirty years later, I’ve never seen another film like it.
The most accurate review of ERASERHEAD I’ve found said (and I’m paraphrasing here, because I can’t remember the exact wording or the source), that watching the movie is “like having your face pushed into a dirty pillow for ninety minutes”.
Henry Spencer is a hapless factory worker on his vacation when he finds out he’s the father of a hideously deformed baby. Now living with his unhappy, malcontent girlfriend, the child cries day and night, driving Henry and his girlfriend to near insanity.
I’ve disappeared from view again. As I’ve said many times before, this always happens when I’m writing. Right now I’m working hard on AUTUMN: INFERNO, the second book in the LONDON TRILOGY.
The reception readers have given to the first book, AUTUMN: DAWN, has been wonderful. I thought I’d break cover to share a great review from www.sfbook.com which you can find here. “Autumn – Dawn is impressive, offering a new perspective on the author’s past creation, resulting in strong, atmospheric and thoughtful horror.” Thank you to Ant for the very kind words.
AUTUMN: DAWN is available now in print and a range of ebook formats. The limited edition hardcover is sold out, but you can still get signed paperback copies from me via www.infectedbooks.co.uk. For those who are wondering, the audiobook version is still in production and will be released soon.
UK readers may remember the excellent BBC film series, MOVIEDROME. Presented initially by ALEX COX (director of REPO MAN and SID & NANCY among others), during its run MOVIEDROME showcased more than 200 cult movies. The first few seasons in particular were a fundamental part of my weird film education, introducing me to gem after gem after gem. You have to remember that having just emerged from the era of the video nasty, genre film fans had been starved of decent viewing material. Week by week, MOVIEDROME introduced me and countless others to a whole host of incredible films. Don’t just take my word for it, here’s a full list of the movies that were shown between 1988 and 2000.
One film that’s always stuck with me from my first viewing on MOVIEDROME is CARNIVAL OF SOULS. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw it, and once I’d seen it, I couldn’t forget it. I recently re-watched it, hence my recommendation to you today.
After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.
I made a dumb mistake, and the next five people who order a signed book from www.infectedbooks.co.uk will benefit from it. I wanted to order in some copies of STRAIGHT TO YOU, but I clicked the wrong ISBN. So, instead of the beautiful 2014 edition shown below, I ended up with a number of copies of this abomination (click to reveal – I couldn’t bring myself to show the image here). This version of STRAIGHT TO YOU represents me at my most naive. I’d just started publishing independently, and I made just about every mistake imaginable with this book. I’ve written much about my disdain for the original version of my debut novel – this paperback represents the worst edition of the worst version of the book.
I don’t want these copies cluttering up my shelves, and I’m not going to just throw them away, so the next five people to place an order for a signed book from www.infectedbooks.co.uk, will also get a free
lump of turd copy of the 2006 paperback edition of STRAIGHT TO YOU.
There’s some good stuff available from Infected Books right now – see the list below.
AUTUMN: DAWN limited edition hardcover (FINAL COPY!)
- AUTUMN: DAWN paperback
- AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION and AUTUMN: AFTERMATH limited edition hardcovers
The CHAOS THEORIES paperback bundle
- THE LAST BIG THING
- And several of my non-Infected Books titles, including ALL ROADS END HERE*.
All books are signed, and postage is free for UK orders. Don’t forget, you also get free ebook versions with all Infected Books releases.
* Please note – the free ebook offer does not apply to books released by other publishers