This accelerating rate of change

The title of this post is part of a line from an old PETER GABRIEL song, and the fact I’m thinking of it as an old song just highlights the point I wanted to make. The song’s called ‘Downside Up’, if you’re interested, and the full line is “The only constant I am sure of, is this accelerating rate of change”. It was released over 20 years ago, but it doesn’t seem 5 minutes. All of a sudden, time seems to have sped up rapidly in my little corner of the world.

I’m telling you this for writing-related reasons, so bear with me.

A couple of weeks ago was the one year anniversary of my heart attack. Last November I turned 50. In March I became a grandfather for the first time. Now, I don’t feel any older or any different than I did at the beginning of 2020, but clearly time is marching on!

Long story short, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reassessing; working out what I want from life for me and my family, and what I’m hoping to achieve. The first step happens this week, when I return to full-time writing for the first time since 2014. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while might remember that I had a bit of a ‘falling out’ with writing back in 2014 and I got myself a real job because I was in desperate need of a) human contact, and b) a reality check. I happened to find a job that I really enjoyed and that was suited to my skills, and in what felt like the blinking of an eye, the 12 months I’d planned to spend in employment somehow became 6 and a half years. I continued to write throughout, but the time I had to promote and talk about my work dried up. I love what I write, and I’m very proud of the body of work I’ve so far produced, but I regret not being able to make more of a noise about it recently.

That all changes with AUTUMN: DAWN. The book is going to be released on 31 May 2021 as a paperback, ebook and limited edition hardcover. Limited edition pre-orders will be opening within the next week, and ANYONE WHO PRE-ORDERS THE HARDCOVER WILL BE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD AND READ THE EBOOK VERSION OF THE NOVEL STRAIGHT AWAY!

Seriously, I can’t wait for you to be able to dive into the new trilogy. I’m planning on doing a Facebook Live thingy (or similar) shortly before release so that I can answer your questions about the new books.

Please follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss any news. There’s a LOT of stuff on the way.

An AUTUMN update

A couple of bits of AUTUMN news to share. First, an update on the new books. The new trilogy is totally separate from the previous books – they just happen to take place in the same undead world. To make them easier to discern, I’m calling the new novels THE LONDON TRILOGY (you can’t fault the logic – three books, all based in London). The really important news is that book one is just about finished. The edits are being wrapped, and the cover art is in the process of being put together… it won’t be long before it’s unleashed. It’s looking like AUTUMN: DAWN will now hit the shelves in May. Pre-orders will be announced in April, including a strictly limited hardcover edition.

To bring new readers up to speed, and to give old-time AUTUMN readers a blast of nostalgia, I’ve relaunched the AUTUMN website – www.lastoftheliving.net. For now it’s focused on the previous books, but stacks of information about the new trilogy will be added over the course of the next 18 months.

I hope you enjoy all of this, and that my grim AUTUMN stories can still strike a chord in this strange old virus-riddled world of ours. After the events of the last 12 months, it’s been strangely cathartic diving back into AUTUMN. If you have any thoughts, images, or artwork you’d like to see added to www.lastoftheliving.net – AUTUMN or pandemic-related, I really don’t mind – then please drop me a line.

Read an eBook week

This week is the 12th annual READ AN EBOOK WEEK. I’ve talked previously about how important eBooks were to me when I began my career. In the early days there seemed to be an endless debate about which is best – print or digital. The answer is both! And audiobooks are equally grand. As long as people are reading (and authors and publishers are being properly compensated) who cares how they’re doing it!

As usual, here are a few shameless plugs to mark the occasion. Indie eBook firm SMASHWORDS are big supporters of Read an eBook Week. Here’s a link to their huge sale to mark the occasion. You can find a couple of my books on the site if you’re interested. I know it’s not released until next week, but if you want something fresh, new, and a little bit unhinged, THE BLEED: RAPTURE is out next Tuesday. And finally, if you’re new to my work and fancy loading up on some of my standalone novels, can I recommend the CHAOS THEORIES boxset?

 

Two weeks until the RAPTURE

It’s March. How did that happen? Hopefully everyone’s doing well and feeling a lot better about the world than we were this time last year. I’m happy to be able to confirm that THE BLEED: RAPTURE hits the shelves later this month. The second book in the BLEED trilogy by CHRIS PHILBROOK, MARK TUFO and myself is released on 16 March as an ebook, paperback (link to follow), and AUDIBLE EXCLUSIVE audiobook. So happy with the way book 2 has turned out. There’s only one letter difference between this and last year’s RUPTURE, but this volume is a whole different beast. A whole different load of beasts, actually. I think you’re going to enjoy it.

The Bleed: Rapture by David Moody, Chris Philbrook, and Mark Tufo

The series rounds out in September with ARMAGEDDON. For now, though, here’s a taste of what to expect from RAPTURE

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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!

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.

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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.