Stefan Cush (The Men They Couldn’t Hang)

Some sad news to share. STEFAN CUSH from THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG died suddenly last week from a heart attack. He was 60. As many of you may remember, TMTCH made a memorable appearance in the first HATER novel. While I was writing the book back in 2006, I was in touch with Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers from the band who’d enjoyed the AUTUMN books. We got chatting and he made an off-hand comment about adding him as a character in a future book. I’d just written the scene in HATER where Danny and Lizzie are at a rock concert and all hell breaks loose when one of the band members starts attacking the others, mid-set. Cut a long story short – the band in the book became TMTCH, and it was Swill who did the attacking, but the rest of the lads were very accommodating and they all made an appearance. I was lucky enough to see the band a few years later, and they were magnificent.

Stefan Cush performing live in 2017 CREDIT: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about how lucky I am to still be alive after my heart attack last April. Since my illness, I’ve been in contact with many people who’ve either had a heart attack themselves or who’ve lost loved ones. Very sadly, a member of my family passed away unexpectedly last weekend after suffering a massive heart attack. Without wishing to preach, I’d urge everyone to be aware of their own heart health. I know that health services around the world are under unprecedented strain right now, but please do seek advice if you have any concerns. If I’d not received such brilliant treatment from the NHS last April, I doubt I’d be here today.

My deepest condolences to go out to Cush’s family, friends, fellow band members and fans. A Crowdfunder drive is currently running to support his children with funeral costs. You can find the details here.

One Night Stand

Right, I’ve just finished another draft of AUTUMN: DAWN, so it’s time to catch up with a few posts. I thought I’d start with a film recommendation that I discovered over Christmas. Four years ago, back in the days when we were able to travel, my family and I saw in the new year in Australia. Here’s a pic of us outside Sydney Opera House welcoming in 2017.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2020, and I was searching for something to watch on Amazon Prime when I stumbled across an apocalyptic movie set in the Opera House on New Year’s Eve. I had to check it out, and I’m glad I did. ONE NIGHT STAND is by no means a great film, but the 1980’s Cold War setting, along with a wonderfully bleak ending, certainly make it worth a watch.

In Australia, four teenagers in a Sydney theatre are astounded to hear the news that a nuclear war has broken out in Eastern Europe. They try to figure out the best way they can survive the coming conflagration.

Continue reading

Isolation: Geschichten aus der Welt der Untoten

As you’ve probably noticed, over the last couple of years we’ve been working to increase the availability of my Infected Books titles in different formats. Recently the focus has been on ISOLATION which, as you might recall, was released as an audiobook in December just gone. I’m pleased to report that ISOLATION: GESCHICHTEN AUS DER WELT DER UNTOTEN (Stories from the World of the Undead) – the German language version of the book – is out now.

This book has always been one of my favourites. You might remember it started life as the script of a short film which, unfortunately, never saw the light of day. When ISOLATION came out in 2014 I desperately needed a break from the living dead, so I took the opportunity to include a few zombie shorts I’d had rattling around alongside the titular novella. I’m very proud of this collection, and I hope you enjoy it. The German edition is available here, the English version is here, the audiobook is here, and you can find the story in print (alongside THE COST OF LIVING) in LAST OF THE LIVING.

New Year Update

How’s everyone doing? I hope you’re staying safe and sane during these astonishing days, weeks, and months. As inconsequential as my writing feels at such a tumultuous time, I thought I’d give you a quick update and let you know what I’m up to.

As anyone familiar with my frequent radio silences will know, if I’m not posting on here, it usually means I’m busy writing. My main focus over the last few months has been AUTUMN: DAWN, the first novel in the new AUTUMN trilogy. I’m still on target to have book one wrapped in the next month or so, and I’m planning for a late April release. It’s been so refreshing to have had the space to plan the whole trilogy as a single project beforehand, and I can honestly say the book’s been a joy to write so far. I do have a nagging concern at the back of my mind, though… are people really going to want to read my grim, germ-infected, post-apocalyptic zombie stories after everything we’ve been through? I hope so. You can decide for yourself as I’ll be sharing more details very soon.

Also coming up is the second book in the series I’ve been writing with MARK TUFO and CHRIS PHILBROOK. THE BLEED: RAPTURE hits the shelves and the ears (it’s another AUDIBLE exclusive) on 16 March, and you can pre-order it here. Book two is an absolutely full-on, non-stop ride which sets up the mother of all apocalypses. THE BLEED: ARMAGEDDON will bring the series to an end in September.

Like many other people, the last year was one of huge changes for me personally, and the ramifications of those changes are still unfolding. It’s almost a year since my heart attack now, and I turned 50 last November. Those milestones, combined with the impact of the ongoing pandemic alongside other personal and professional developments, have made me want to review my priorities, ambitions and aspirations.

Almost 7 years ago, I’d had a gutful. I fell out of love with writing in a big way and re-joined the real world to try and re-establish my connection with reality. It’s now time to head back in the opposite direction, with a return to full-time writing looming and a stack of new projects on the horizon.

For now, though, it’s back to AUTUMN: DAWN (big action scene to write tonight – one person corralling about 10,000 dead bodies singlehanded). I will be back with regular news, updates and recommendations in the coming weeks. Until then, I’d like to belatedly wish you a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2021 is infinitely better than 2020 was!

Isolation audiobook now available

Hello! Long time no speak. I’ve had my head down writing AUTUMN: DAWN for the last couple of months, and haven’t had much chance to come up for air. If you’re interested, I’m having a total blast diving deep into the world of AUTUMN again. I needed the long(ish) break from zombies, but I don’t think I’ll ever really stop writing about them.

Back in 2014, though, I thought the undead and I were going to part company forever. I wanted to move onto something new, and I decided to release a couple of zombie novellas to celebrate. The first was THE COST OF LIVING, which was quickly followed by ISOLATION (and both stories were collected in the LAST OF THE LIVING paperback).

Keith’s in his early twenties. No girlfriend, no hobbies, no future. He spends his days working in an office and his evenings, weekends and just about all his free time looking after his alcoholic dad.

And then the zombie apocalypse changes everything.

Suddenly Keith’s free. For the first time in a long time, he’s got nothing to worry about (apart from several hundred thousand reanimated corpses heading his way).

But then he meets Anna, and everything changes again. Cocky, cool, confident… she’s everything Keith isn’t. Holed-up together in an isolated bungalow, besieged by the living dead, will they survive, or will they tear each other apart before the dead get anywhere near?

I’m pleased to announce that, at long last, ISOLATION is available as an audiobook from AUDIBLE and APPLE. Chris Lawson (follow him on Twitter at @ChrisMLawson) did a fine job of narrating Keith and Anna’s tragic decline in a municipal park surrounded by tens of thousands of zombies.

I have a few promo codes to share. If you’d like a copy of the book, please complete the form below. Numbers are limited, and I’m afraid the offer is restricted to UK and US only (Audible’s restriction, not mine).

Your details will ONLY be used for the purposes of sending an Audible promotion code to you. The codes will be issued over the next few days. Feel free to claim a couple of books. All I ask in return is an honest review once you’re done listening.

    IsolationTrustStraight to YouThe Cost of LivingStrangers

    UKUnited States

    Chaos Theories

    Over the years, many people have found their way to my books via the AUTUMN and HATER novels or through the collaborations I’ve worked on with other authors such as THE BLEED and THE FRONT. As a result, it sometimes feels like my standalone novels fall through the cracks. For that reason, I’ve put together a reasonably priced eBook box-set of three already reasonably priced books – STRAIGHT TO YOU, TRUST and STRANGERS.

    CHAOS THEORIES is now available from Amazon.

    Thanks to DAVID SHIRES for handling the artwork.

    And for those who still prefer print, there are a limited number of bundles of the same three novels available direct from Infected Books for the low price of £15.

    DOG SOLDIERS

    Just prior to the second national lockdown starting here, and in the absence of many new releases, our local cinema showed a series of classic horror movies. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned how close we live to a cinema before. It’s literally a five-minute walk from my front door, and in the eight or so years we’ve lived in this spot, it’s been a source of gainful part-time employment for three of our daughters. I love the place and have been keen to support it whenever its doors have been open during the nightmare which has been 2020. I managed to catch a couple of films, the first of which was NEIL MARSHALL’S werewolf classic, DOG SOLDIERS.

    Here’s a quick synopsis from IMDB: A British Squad is sent on a training mission in the Highlands of Scotland against Special Operations squad. Ignoring the childish “campfire” stories heard about the area, they continue with their mission and come across the bloody remains of the Special Ops Squad, and a fierce howling is pitching the night sky… With two mortally wounded men, they make an escape, running into a zoologist by the name of Megan – who knows exactly what hunts them. What began as what they thought was a training mission turns into a battle for their lives against the most unlikely enemies they would have expected – werewolves.

    Continue reading

    10 years of AUTUMN

    Hard to believe today is the 10 year anniversary of the mass market release of AUTUMN. It had been around for another 10 years prior to that, of course, first as a very basic free download, then as an independent release through Infected Books. I just happened to be on holiday in New York with the family at the time, and I’ll never forget the buzz of walking into Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue and finding copies on display in the wild (see picture below). It was the beginning of an unforgettable period in my career.

    Fast forward a decade, and here I am writing AUTUMN novels again! I thought the series was done and dusted in 2013 with the release of AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION, but over the last couple of years I found myself thinking more and more about the world of AUTUMN, and I came across a new story I really wanted to tell.

    Go back to 2001 when I started sharing AUTUMN online for the first time, and it was a very different world. The Internet was just starting to get its claws into everyday life (and that was part of the reason I started giving the book away for free at the time), but we were nowhere near as reliant on the web and our phones as we are today, and the idea of social media hadn’t yet raised its ugly head. The surviving characters in the first AUTUMN books were isolated from the rest of the world at the exact moment everyone else dropped dead, immediately unable to contact anyone else. No one to ask for help. No one to answer their thousands of questions. Nothing but absolute, unending, suffocating radio silence.

    So, how would things be different today? Maybe the last few hours and days before the power dies and the networks fail will be enough time for those desperate survivors to communicate and coordinate? Maybe they’d be able to piece together what was happening from the global population’s dying digital remains?

    And there’s another huge difference between the people who survived the AUTUMN epidemic back in 2001 and those who’d make it if the events of the book had taken place in 2020. Zombies! Back in the day, there was an unwritten rule that the people in zombie stories didn’t know what zombies were, but after a couple of decades filled with THE WALKING DEAD and its variations, 28 DAYS LATER, and countless other zombie books, TV series and movies, it seems unlikely that any survivors would now be that naive. They’re going to have more of an idea of what’s going on and how they’re going to have to deal with it, and they certainly wouldn’t be as green as Michael, Carl and the others were in the first scenes of AUTUMN. Maybe that’ll be their undoing, because the living dead in the AUTUMN books certainly don’t play by the same rules as other zombies. It would be wrong to assume and underestimate what they’re capable of…

    But I guess the biggest immediate difference between the original series and the new trilogy, is scale. The groups of survivors in the original series were small in number – usually less than 30, hopelessly outnumbered. Not the case for my new characters, who have to deal with the zombie apocalypse in the middle of London. This means there will likely be hundreds of people left alive, but they’ll be surrounded by literally millions of zombies. In the original books you could go for hours without seeing one of the walking dead. This time around, there are hordes of them around every single corner. I’m having a blast writing these new books. The whole trilogy has been scoped out in detail, with the intention of writing and releasing the novels in quick-fire succession during 2021.

    So happy birthday, AUTUMN. Here’s to a brand new chapter beginning early next year.

     

     

    Hardcode

    I’m incredibly excited to announce that CRAIG PATON has agreed to design the covers for the new AUTUMN trilogy I’m currently writing. I couldn’t be happier. Craig has produced some iconic covers for me over the years – TRUST, AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION, STRAIGHT TO YOU and STRANGERS. Recently, he’s had a huge amount of success with KILLTOPIA – a cyberpunk graphic novel he created alongside writer DAVE COOK.

    I’d planned to post here tonight to promote Craig’s new project – HARDCODE – but he’s doing a hell of a job promoting it himself. The recently launched Kickstarter was funded within 6 hours! Stretch targets are now in place, and the support is flooding in. Please check out the Kickstarter embedded below and consider backing Craig’s project.

    Click here for more information about HARDCODE.

    Free eBook

    Just a quick reminder that when you sign up for my mailing list, you can download a free eBook sampler of my work. It’s just been updated to include SCRATCH – my novella from the Infected Books 2016 YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE project – as well as ANGEL, my favourite AUTUMN short story, and THE DEAL which is horrible little tale torn from the pages of THE LAST BIG THING.

    Click here or on the cover below for more information. No junk, spam or nonsense, I promise. I generally only send newsletters when there’s a new release on the horizon. And I’m planning several of those for 2021.

    Who is that handsome fellow? Why, that’s me on the set of the AUTUMN movie. What a stunner.