Monday, 29 February 2016

How do you talk to your kids about the hardest things?

Sex, death, mean people, bullies, tax, drugs...all these things are difficult to explain to your children, and sometimes uncomfortable for a parent to speak about. Hard to get it right, and I wonder if many get it spot on. But how do you tell your children about the hardest thing of all? Politics.

Analogies work, sometimes.

This is want I want to say:

Dad: People say the freedom to vote is a double-edged sword, boys, but it's not. Not really. Imagine, instead, that the public...

Children: Public?

Dad: People, boys. Human people, people of a nation.

Children: But aren't we all people? 

Dad: Yes, well...but we're our people, so we don't have to worry about all the 'other' people. The Government tells us this over and over again - 'the other people aren't our problem'. But we don't listen. We think they mean not our countries' people, but the lesson is that anyone who is not you doesn't matter.

Children: Dad, are you rambling a bit? What about politics? 

Dad: Oh, yes. Right. Politics. OK...remember the talk we had about sex shows in Amsterdam? Uh-huh. Well, imagine the public - people - are in the sex show. The Government, which is vast beyond comprehension, an uncaring void which encompasses the police, media, the bin men, VAT, taxation, what we see on the news, what we are permitted to watch on national television, where we walk on a pavement shared by people with bicycles who think they will save this world with a bike...

Children: Dad, are you a Nihilist?

Dad: So, this vast machine isn't a sword, right? It's like a double-ended dildo. We're the public, life is a sex show, and politics is that dildo. Supposed to please everyone, but like that Brian Yuzna film we watched, 'Society', our faces are all full of horror. We're on roofies (remember that talk?) and we don't want to be there. But we can't get out. It's too big. The dildo has become the master. We're strung out, jonesing, seeing shit like in Burrough's Naked Lunch...

Anyway. I don't want to have that conversation with the children. All the other stuff? We'll cover it when and if it comes up. Anything. Just not that. Some things are just too dark for children, some images too awful.

Love you.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Libraries, or how to read books free and have the government pay for them...

Whichever way you look at it, libraries are brilliant. A resource too few people take advantage of. It doesn't cost you anything, because the library is funded by the marvellous government...and authors and publishers still get their money.

If a book isn't in stock, ask, and the library will either order it from another library, or if no libraries have a copy, it might cost you fifty pence or so to order it.

If you have libraries in your country, there is no reason for you to not read (if you want to read, of course). I'm not going to ramble about why reading is important for a nation, or why people with a broader view benefit a country as a whole, but the library is there - you might have to be born into money to afford to eat lobster, but you don't have to be rich (in England, at least) to read a book, or as many books as you want.

You can get my books in paperback from the library. You can read on your kindle from the library - there is an app for that, too.

For free.

Why am I touting the library here, not my books? Because if you read my books, everyone gets paid and it doesn't cost you anything. The government pays for it.

Isn't that wonderful? I think that's wonderful.

Thought about writing a short blog about libraries for a while, but had an email stating 'Masters of Blood and Bone' is in the library system, and this is my blog, so I'm going to stick that here, too. (Sticky out tongue emoticon...)

'Shocking and gripping from the get-go, this tightly wound tale of gods and monsters had me hooked from the opening pages. The writing veers from slick, Tarantino-style dialogue and rapid narrative to surreal, bewildering sequences, which gradually coalesce into an ambitious plot involving ancient deities, their appalling servants, demons of the abyss and the apocalypse itself. In the midst of all this we meet a father and daughter; no ordinary parent and child. They see dead people… among other things, and they’re more than capable of standing up to an insane god.

Yet ‘Blood and Bone’ tells more than a simple tale of confrontation and magical battle. These aren’t flimsy, stereotypical tropes of fantasy fiction; they have the feel of real (if extremely weird) people. We’re not weighed down by acres of exposition or establishing back-story, we simply join the cast of characters at a pivotal point in their mutual life stories.
Amid the scenes of brutal, blood soaked carnage and sexual rampage (if books had rating then this would definitely be an R/X), there’s a truly inventive story-teller at work, weaving a new mythology from strands of age-old stories. The writing is razor-sharp and wielded like a deadly weapon; there’s no hackneyed clich├ęs in these pages, but plenty of wince-inducing visualisations of abominations.
There's more thoughts on the plot and characters at

The final payoff is a treat. Ditto the epilogue. And the special guest appearance by Charon was a rare delight, too. ‘Blood and Bone’ is a near-note-perfect adult fable; a squealing, squirming blood-black nightmare with a solid core of potential redemption. Not for the squeamish, but oh-so satisfying.'

- Murder, Mayhem & More.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

February Free or 99p/c Promotions

This month's free/cheap promotions from me. There are all set to run the week of February 20th. Most will run 7 days, though The Outlaw King will be five days (freebies can only run five days.) The following titles will be on offer:

The Dead Boy/Vigil Double Bill: Horror/Apocalyptic Fiction
Death by a Mother's Hand/A Scarecrow to Watch over Her Double Bill: Horror
The Tides of Rythe: Fantasy
The Outlaw King (FREE): Fantasy
Dark Words: Horror

That's it for this blog. I'll try to remember to share again a few times before February 20th in case you miss this post. 

Otherwise I think I'm going to keep quiet for a while. Trying to find my mojo to get a novel done. Having to sneak up on it. 

Love you!

The Shed