Joe is anything but an ordinary eight year old. His father’s a stay-at-home dad and his mom’s going to save the world.
Forced to live in cramped quarters after the military pull funding on his mother’s research, Joe is thrown into the midst of a race against the clock to save mankind. As tensions rise and the family disintegrates, they must face an uncomfortable ultimatum.
Do they save each other or humanity?
We’ll be following up this release early in 2015 with a unique LIVE This is Horror podcast. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer on air, please email them to Michael@thisishorror.co.uk.
Finally, as this will probably be my last post here for a while, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and enthusiasm over the past year, and to wish you and your families all the best for the holiday season.
I’m excited to announce the release of a free JOE & ME audiobook. A joint production between This is Horror and Infected Books, and narrated by yours truly, it’ll be free to download from 2pm GMT on Tuesday 23 December. Happy Christmas!
JOE & ME is a story I’m extremely proud of. It’s a great little tale that offers a very personal glimpse into the early hours of the world-wide chaos which unfolds throughout the AUTUMN series. I’ll tell you more about it on Tuesday…
I’ve been saying for a long time how I believe ebooks should be free with the print edition of books. After all, if you’re anything like me, when you buy a CD the first thing you do is rip it to iTunes or similar. Since the relaunch of Infected Books in 2012, you’ve been able to download complementary ebook versions via Smashwords after completing a short form online. After a successful trial run with STRANGERS, I’m pleased to be taking this experiment one step further. From today, when you purchase a signed copy of one of the books shown below direct from www.infectedbooks.co.uk, you’ll automatically receive a download link and you’ll be able to immediately download the Kindle and ePub versions of the book.
I hope you like this. Please let me have your thoughts or feedback if you have chance. By the way, we won’t be getting any more stock in before the end of the year, so there are just 6 paperback copies of STRANGERS, 10 copies of LAST OF THE LIVING, and 6 copies of TRUST left!
So, a while back I promised to explain what was happening with Infected Books.
You might recall that, sometime around the middle of last month, after clearing a lot of my shelves and stocks of books, I shuttered the website (which had become known as the Infected Bookstore, because that was pretty much all it was). People asked if I was disappearing or giving up… if I’d had my fill of independent publishing… if I was through with writing altogether…
That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how things used to be back in 2001 when I started giving away the original AUTUMN novel for free via my website. The eBook market was small back then, and self-publishing was a dirty word (I know it still is to some people). These were the days before Kindle, Nook and iBooks… when I was literally emailing pdfs, Word docs, and all manner of obscure early eBook formats directly to interested folks.
Infected Books was created in early 2005 as a clear and very definite brand – a way of publishing my books independently which a). didn’t make me look like a one man band operating out of the spare bedroom at home (which I was) and b). gave me a professional-looking brand with which I could compete with other publishers around the world. In that respect, IB worked brilliantly. It was, as one senior editor working for a UK publisher told me a few years back, a masterstroke.
But then everything that happened with Guillermo del Toro and HATER and Thomas Dunne Books happened, and I pulled down the virtual shutters.
Fast-forward a few years, and I re-launched the business back in 2012 to republish my remaining novels – books which had been released previously, but which I knew would benefit from an upgrade. It worked really well. TRUST, AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION and, most recently, STRAIGHT TO YOU have been very successful.
But things really changed again at the end of May, when THE COST OF LIVING was released. I’ve already said this, but I’ll say it again anyway – the success of my little zombie novella has far exceeded my expectations. In some ways, THE COST OF LIVING has been a catalyst for the changes I’m going to tell you about now.
Infected Books is a publisher first and foremost. In the future, it’ll be much more than that (starting with, I hope, Infected Films in a couple of years time – more about that later). The website, though, didn’t represent that. In fact, it had become a glorified bookstore which took more time and money to maintain than I had available.
I’d like to invite you to visit the new www.infectedbooks.co.uk which has just been launched. It looks much the same visually, but there’s been a definite shift in content and focus (although you can still buy signed books from the site – now with free UK shipping). You’ll find much more about the titles IB publishes, and there will be plenty more new releases to come in the next few months. A mix of eBooks, limited editions, and new paperback releases are coming… there are things planned every month from hereon in. Please also follow IB on Facebook and Twitter to be the first to hear about these releases.
THE COST OF LIVING has reinvigorated me, and I can’t wait to let you see what’s coming next.
Infected Books is very much alive and kicking. As I first said back in 2001 (a line which plenty of others have pinched since then…) stick with me and let’s SPREAD THE INFECTION!
I’ve a number of great features lined up for this site, but time has got the better of me this week so I don’t have anything ready to post*. In lieu of interesting content, therefore, I’ll give you this:
SIGNED COPIES OF STRAIGHT TO YOU, TRUST AND AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION ARE HALF PRICE UNTIL MONDAY 12 MAY. ALL PURCHASES INCLUDE FREE EBOOK VERSION**
* You shouldn’t have too long to wait to see what I’ve been working on.
** You’ll need to complete a short form to download your complementary ebook – details can be found here.
I’ve been bowled over with the response to the new version of STRAIGHT TO YOU. Sales have been strong, and folks have been really positive with their words. To celebrate, until March 21 you can pick up signed copies of STRAIGHT TO YOU, TRUST and AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION at a 10% discount from www.infectedbooks.co.uk. And don’t forget, complementary ebook versions are included with all those titles.
Alternatively, you could try and win a copy of the new book. There’s a giveaway running over at SCREAM MAGAZINE!
Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holidays. I’ve a huge amount planned for 2014, lots to get through, so I thought I’d dive in with the first in a series of posts about the re-release of STRAIGHT TO YOU in February. Today I wanted to explain why I’ve re-written the book.
Incredibly, it’s twenty years ago yesterday since I started work on the first draft of the novel. If you’ve read any of the interviews I’ve done over the years, you’ll inevitably have heard me say I’m a frustrated film-maker at heart. When I left school I wanted to make movies, but with no relevant experience or qualifications, and no immediately obvious way of getting any, I ended up working for a high street bank (something which, though I enjoyed aspects of it at the time, I’m less than proud to admit now). I saved up and bought a video camera, but the quality was poor and editing footage was next to impossible, so plans to break into the film business were put on hold. But I was left with a number of stories rattling around inside my head, and I knew I had to do something with them. I tried my hand at writing screenplays before deciding I was better suited to writing more conventional prose. After a number of false starts, I sat down on 1st January 1994 and set myself a few ground-rules for writing. I told myself it was my last chance.
I decided I’d plan the full outline of the story first;
I’d write at least a page a day;
I wouldn’t go back and re-read or edit anything until I’d finished each full draft.
Six months later and I’d written my first novel, STRAIGHT TO YOU. I reluctantly began showing it to people, assuming they’d hate it, and I was relieved (and shocked and surprised, if I’m honest) when they didn’t. In fact, they seemed to actually enjoy it. Then someone got really angry with me because the ending of the book made them cry, and someone else told me you can’t finish a story like that, and another friend said they couldn’t stop thinking about it… and I realised I might actually be onto something.
The original 1996 release of Straight to You
After a relatively brief search, the book found a home with a very small British publisher, and STRAIGHT TO YOU was released in September 1996. You probably know the rest of the story from here… I sat back and naïvely waited for the cheques to come rolling in, but they didn’t. I waited to hear from readers and other publishers, but heard nothing. I checked the shelves of all the bookshops in Birmingham, and found it stocked in only one… The initial print run of just 500 copies failed to sell (and I still have a box left in my garage…). Looking back, it would have been easy to throw in the towel, but I took another option instead. I finished writing AUTUMN and made that book available for free online, and that was probably the single most important decision I’ve taken in my writing career so far.
But STRAIGHT TO YOU wouldn’t go away. People seemed to really respond to the story which, in essence, is very simple: the sun is dying, the end of the world is fast approaching, and our hero is separated from his lover by hundreds of miles – will he reach her before all life on Earth is annihilated?
2005 Infected Books re-release
In 2005 I re-released the novel through Infected Books, though with a number of reasonably successful novels under my belt by that time, I was growing to dislike my debut. Not the story, just the way it was written. Looking back at the original version now I cringe. Twenty years ago I was a single man with no kids and hardly any responsibilities. I also had bugger all writing experience, bugger all life experience, and it showed. The characters were flat and two-dimensional, the dialogue was awful, you couldn’t move for clichés… Perhaps I’m being overly harsh and critical, but I don’t think so. And as time progressed, so my hatred (and that’s not too strong a word) for the original novel continued to grow. But still the story wouldn’t go away…
Fast-forward to 2011, and when I delivered the last AUTUMN and HATER novels to my publishers, I decided to go back and revisit my other Infected Books releases, to try and bring them up to the standards of my subsequent books and give the stories the treatment I thought they deserved. TRUST, as you probably know, was released in July 2012, and AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITIONcame out last year. That just left STRAIGHT TO YOU, which I rewrote from scratch last summer.
I’m over the moon with the way the book has turned out, and initial feedback has been very positive. I’ll talk in the coming weeks about the inspirations behind the novel, the differences between the original and new versions of the book, and remind me also to tell you about being shafted by Hollywood (because, at one stage, the book was on the verge of being optioned by some very famous folks… and no, I won’t be telling you who, because I can’t afford to sue them and, more to the point, I can’t afford to be sued).
All I’ll say for now is that despite being very, very different, the 2014 version of STRAIGHT TO YOU still retains the same atmosphere of that little book I started writing twenty years ago yesterday. In some ways it feels like an impossible sequel. I guess if I had made it in the movie business, I’d be calling it a reboot or a reimagining. Whatever it is, I can’t wait for people to read it.
I did say at the beginning of 2013 that you probably wouldn’t hear very much from me this year and I was right. Apart from the re-release of AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION, I feel like I’ve hardly put my head above the surface. That’s going to change in 2014. Remember this image I posted in September?
Left to right: the 17 DAYS, STRANGERS and STRAIGHT TO YOU manuscripts in various stages of completion!
These three manuscripts have taken up most of my year, but I’m pleased to say they’re now finished. STRANGERS has been through the beta-read process and come out the other side (thanks to those who read it and provided feedback), and 17 DAYS is currently with my agent. But it’s STRAIGHT TO YOU that I want to talk about today.
One of the things I’ve been doing since I finished both the HATER and AUTUMN series last year has been revisiting my older work to try and bring it up to scratch. I felt a real need to clear the decks of older material before moving onto anything new. When I signed with Thomas Dunne Books back in 2008, these novels fell through the cracks and I didn’t want them to be forgotten. The rewritten version of TRUST was released in July 2012, and this year saw AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION back in print in a completely revised and newly expanded edition. Now it’s the turn of the final ‘missing book’ – STRAIGHT TO YOU – to get a lick of paint, except on this occasion the changes are more than just cosmetic.
I’m planning several posts about the book over the coming weeks. I’ll tell you about the substantial differences between the old and new versions, why I’ve rewritten the book, the adventures I’ve had with approaches for the film rights, why I’m re-releasing it now and how that’s going to happen, and more besides. But for today, I guess all you need to know is this: the re-written, re-edited and repackaged STRAIGHT TO YOU will be released through Infected Books on 14 February 2014 (yes, I’ve gone for Valentine’s Day… what better date for a heartbreaking apocalyptic romance?). It’ll be available as an ebook and trade paperback.
“The sun is dying. The temperature around the world is rising by the hour with no sign of any respite. It won’t be long before all life on Earth is extinguished. It might be weeks, it might be days… we may only have hours. Society is crumbling. The burning world is rapidly descending into chaos.
Steven Johnson’s wife is hundreds of miles away and all that matters is reaching her before the end. He has to act now, no time to stop and think. Every second is precious. Tomorrow is too late.”
If you’re a fan of the original book, don’t worry. The spirit of the story has definitely been maintained. Even though it’s very nearly twenty years since I began writing the first version of the book and it’s my lowest selling title by some margin, people still regularly stop me to talk about STRAIGHT TO YOU. The story still holds up today, perhaps even more so than back in the late nineties. I don’t mind admitting that I still cried like a baby when I typed the final scenes this time around! I’m looking forward to giving the book the release I think it deserves and bringing it to a much wider audience in early 2014.
I feel like post after post recently has been me trying to sell you stuff (I guess that’s what this site’s all about, really). Anyway, if you’ve been following progress on Facebook you’ll have seen a number of Infected Books special offers come and go. This is the last week for posting before Christmas, so I thought I’d summarise things here.
Any UK orders placed via www.infectedbooks.co.uk before midnight Wednesday 18 December will be shipped first class at no extra charge (and don’t forget, UK postage is free until the end of 2013 as it is). And before you get fed up and tune out because I haven’t provided a proper update or told you about any new books recently, hold fire. There’s news coming shortly…
DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US bundles – two signed hardcovers for the price of one from the original US pressings (£10 – only five sets left)
THEM OR US UK hardcover (now out of print) reduced to £7.50
AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION limited edition hardcover reduced to £15
AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION paperback reduced to £7.50
These prices are good until close of play Wednesday 18 December.