KIT TINSLEY

The Official Website

WELCOME

Welcome to my website, if you have found your way here, you are obviously a horror fan. I am a horror author, based in the UK. Please look around the site, and if you feel like please take a look at my books.

 

The Wilds Is Here

My Latest novel the wilds is available now in ebook and paperback format.

In a bleak landscape, people are vanishing, and the local police are covering something up. Two men, desperate for answers, hunt for the truth. Is a legendary big cat to blame, or is there something else lurking in the wilds.

 

UK  ebook edition

US ebook edition

UK paperback

US paperback

Non Fiction Book

So my wonderful wife, Siobhan, and I have written a non fiction book together. 'Thirst For Blood' traces the history of the Vampire from it earliest legends, to modern cinema. 

 

Here is the cover art for the book, which will be coming very soon.

 

Tuesday Tease

Today, as part of his regular Tuesday Tease feature, the excellent author Michael Brookes has posted and excerpt from ym debut novel 'Beneath' on his website. This gives readers a little taster of the book and also has my bio and links to the book. Please check it out , and also take a look at Michael's own writing, you won't regret it

Go to the feature here

The Wilds Is Coming

So here is the cover design for my second novel 'The Wilds'

The book will be available soon

 

My First Signing Event

April 7, 2014

Hello everyone, 

Well what a few weeks it has been. First there was the release of my new novel 'The Wilds' - available here - which did very well on it's first week of release, and has garnered several five star reviews already. Then last Saturday I attended my first signing event at a memorabilia fair. 

I have rarely been as nervous as I was that day. I have never attended one of these events as a member of the public, let alone a guest, so I had no idea what to expect. The day began very early when my wife and I packed up the car and set off to our destination, Cleethorpes, about an hour and a half away. We drove up there over the, still misty, Lincolnshire wolds. 

Upon our arrival, the place was full of activity, with a myriad of vendors setting up there wares. We were shown where we would be setting up, and all of the amenities at our disposal. We then set about setting up my table, I was quite pleased with the results.

Sat next to us was a fellow horror author, the wonderful Nathan Robinson, who I had previously only had the pleasure of speaking to online. We were all set up, and when the doors opened, we waited, and waited, and waited.

With so many other vendors there, it seemed that no one was really interested in buying books from an author they had never heard of before. Then a few hours later I made my first sale, a copy of my short story collection 'Dark County', to a woman dressed in a terrifying Cybershade (from Doctor Who) costume. With an unbelievable sense of pride I signed my name in that book, and suddenly the whole thing seemed worth, in terms of recognition if not recompense.

As the day progressed we had a good laugh with our fellow guest, and saw some amazing sights. Over the course of the day I sold a further four books, and although this did not make me rich, it did put me in a slight profit for a wonderful day.

I have the bug now. The next event I am attending is the Geeks Unleashed at the Doncaster Dome, on May the 4th. This event will be much larger, with more guests ( I can't wait to meet Danny John Jules, the Cat from Red Dwarf). I am also taking part in a panel discussion with some fellow authors, which I am really looking forward to. 

Indie authors who have not attended any such events, you really should try it, it is great fun, and even though my sales on the day weren't amazing, I have seen a definite increase in ebook sales since I went there.

A Nightmare on Promotion Street

March 13, 2014

Hello everyone,

So this week sees the release of my latest novel, 'The Wilds'. It feels good to get a new novel out into the world, but of course now I am faced with the seemingly impossible task of promoting the book.

There are scores of books available on Amazon that tell you how to market you're books for guaranteed success. I know this because I have bought a lot of them myself. It seems to me that the only guaranteed way to be a success on Amazon is to write a book about how to be a success on amazon.

I of course try all of the different approaches set out in these book. ; blogs, Facebook, twitter, goodreads, press releases yadda yadda yadda!

My first book 'Beneath' was relatively successful on its first few months of release. Hitting the number one spot in it's category three times. This was more luck than judgement on my part. It was my first novel and I had little idea what I was doing. The thing is I have been unable to replicate that success with my subsequent releases.

It would appear to me that paid advertising and public appearances may be the key. However, if you are in the position I am, low income family with young child, it is not feasible to do these things. I am scheduled to be making public appearances this year, but as of yet don't have enough money to order copies of my books to sell and sign.

So  is there an answer, or is self publishing merely a past time of those with the money to back it up? Personally I think there is some truth to the latter part. The vast majority of self published books are non fiction book written by people successful in that particular field, who can afford to market their books to a specific niche or need.

Fiction, however, does not, and should not, fit neatly into niches, and the only need it satisfies is the need to be entertained. This makes knowing where to market your book very difficult, because there are infinite possibilities.

What I have found out is that the cheapest way to market your books is to engage with people. If someone writes something nice about your book on Facebook, or twitter, you need to take the time to reply, and form a friendship with those people. If you do that, they are guaranteed, pretty much, to buy your next book, and to recommend you to their friends, and defend you from the attacks of trolls.

Engage in your community, I recently donated some copies of my books to the local library. Tomorrow I am going there to talk to a group of year 11 students who are studying horror at a local secondary school. I doubt these kids will have much money to buy my book, but if I can engage with them, and inspire them, then this is something that will stay with them for life. It is playing the long game. 

Contact whatever local media you have, they will more than likely be willing to cover your story, it will more than likely get you a few sales, but it will also get your name out there in people's minds for free. Brand recognition. People might read an article about you in the local news paper, then in six month time stumble across your book on Amazon, and think oh yeah I remember that guy. And buy it. 

As I say, the odds are stacked in favour of those who have the money to promote their work, but don't be disheartened if like me you can't afford it. Keep writing, keep plugging away, engage with people online and in your community, and slowly you will get there. A writing career is not a sprint, it's not even a marathon, it's an unending race around the world. Those who stop to talk to people will get bigger cheers at the end of the day.

Interview - Dead Pixels Photography

March 5, 2014

Well Hello everyone.

This week I have had the pleasure of interviewing the very talented Brad Bourne of Dead Pixels Photography. Brad is a horror photographer who specializes in the dark and the macabre. I have had the pleasure of working with him several times, he did the photograph for the cover of my short story collection 'Dark County, and more recently he took some portraits for me.

If you Like what you see and want to check out more of his work, visit his Facebook page HERE------> DEAD PIXELS PHOTOGRAPHY

So without further ado, here is what we talked about.

Kit: Good afternoon, how are you?

Brad:  Im very well thankyou Mr Tinsley

Kit: What is your history in photography? Did you study photography?

Brad: Well as a student I actually studied Film and Television. It was the first year they had done it at Lincoln college of Art. I ended up being one of the only people who knew how to use the edit suite :P. I did dabble in a little Black and White photography. Actually taking the photo through the entire process of taking the picture to negative development and exposing etc. So that was a good background. Before going on to Plymouth College of Art to study Film and Television working alot with 16mm film. Something you learn with working in a medium like that is you "have" to get it right - There is no immediate checking for a reshoot. It focuses you alot more.

K: You seem to have and excellent eye for composition, do you know what is going to make a good photograph before you take it?

B:Short answer...No. I do try and take as much for real in the actual picture as possible. But the age of Digital has certainly made it easier to re-compose an image after the fact. Im a big believer in a run 'n' gun mentality and some of the best ideas are born out of chaos. So whereas there will be the basis of an idea, i'll never have the final picture image in my head. Simply because a better idea may come from just trying something on the fly. And it's fun to experiment rather than go with a specific plan.

 

K:  You're photography is darkly beautiful, what inspires you?

B: Ooooh allsorts. I love creepy imagery. Something that makes you think "What the hell is that"? I suppose one of the biggest influences has to actually be a video game. I remember the first time I played Silent Hill on the playstation one. It was such a dark creepy game. And when the second one came out it was even creepier. Something lurking in the shadows you cant quite see. Old decaying scenery spattered with blood. I also like to incorporate pretty with disgusting - It's a nice contrast. Pretty girl, pig's heart. You know the kind of thing Mr Tinsley :)

K: I Certainly do.  Are there any other horror photographers out here that you admire? If so why?

B: I'd say I admire images and imagery rather than people - I'm a picture person really. If I see something that looks cool and makes me want to keep looking at it then I guess thats a kind of admiration. I do like the work of Danielle Tunstell. She creates some very evocative images. Anathema photography also create alot of thought provoking horror art. Roberto Seagate was one of the first artists I saw doing the kind of thing im doing so he wasa big inspiration. I also like the work of painters like Boris Vellejo. It always amazed me how beautiful his fantasy art was. Even if he does do alot of Mills and Boon covers. Or used to anyway lol. Also classic painters like Francis Bacon and Salvador Dali. I tend to detest modern art - A blue square on a white background just doesn't do it for me. It just insults the viewers intelligence. And that's probably the reason you wont see me in the Tate gallery any time soon lol. But i'm ok with that :P

K: Whatever are some of your favourite horror films, and what do you like about them?

B: I'd have to say I really like alot of the previously banned late 70's early 80's horrors. Stuff by the likes of Lucio Fulci. There's just an extremely creepy quality in the way they were shot. Something that appears to have eluded the film makers of today. "The Beyond" for example is extremely dicomforting. I also remember watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a kid. My mum and dad had borrowed it from my Aunt and Uncle and gone out for the evening. It was too good of an opportunity to miss for a horror obsessed 11 year old. Hardly any gore in the film but I had nightmares for weeks about the sliding metal door. Although I do have to say 2 of my favourite films are Brian De Palma's Carrie (I do love a bit o' Stephen King) and John Carpenter's The Thing - Such a foreboding movie - Perfect!!!

K: What equipment do you use in your photos shoots?

B: A ring light because its so versatile especially if you "don't" want harsh shadows - Various other daylight lights - The camera is a 5D MK III and a 24 - 105 L lens - Sometimes bring out the lovely 50mm prime. I wish I could afford alot more 

K:  As a digital artist what do you think are the advantages of digital photography over traditional photography? Are there any disadvantages?

B: Well there are many advantages of course. The ability to instantly view the picture you have just taken being a big one - The ability to edit them immediately and easily using software - Just the scope of editing capabilities is just so vast and instant these days. You could argue that it makes photographers lazy and I suppose to a degree it does. Coming from a film background I can deffinitely see why. But at the end of the day you still have to take a good (in focus) picture, compose it well and create an image thats pleasing to the eye - However unsettling the subject matter may be. I guess thats where the artistic side comes in.

K: What programmes do you use to edited your photographs? Which programme could you not live without?

B: Photoshop and Filter Forge - Could not live without Photoshop 

K:  What are your ambitions for Dead Pixels Photography?

B: Well in the not too distant future ill be making the images available as prints to buy if people so desire. Thats my main goal at the moment - Hopefully people will like them enough. Im my own biggest critic so id never make anything available I didnt like myself. But im also scared people will hate them lol. I guess thats just me. I'm also hugely grateful to friends who have helped along the way. You guys all know who you are and I do try to help them in return :)

K: Do you have any interesting projects in the pipeline.

B: So many pictures - So little time. Yeah have many lined up so expect a few dark 'n' creepy images over the coming weeks. There may even be an Alice in Wonderland themed one. And there's nothing creepier than a good ole fairytale. So stay tuned :)

 

R.I.P. Harold Ramis

February 24, 2014

I was going to write this week about the three horror novels that have influenced me most. However, just a few minutes ago I learnt the awful news that Harold Ramis has died at the age of 69. 

I am 35 years old, In my life many celebrities haved passed away, many that I truly admired. Yet this is the first time I have actually felt actual loss myself. I never knew the man. But his role as co writer and co star of Ghostbusters has made him an actual part of my childhood.

 

1984 I was 6 years old and my parents took us to the cinema to see Ghostbusters. This is the first time I remember going to the cinema, I doubt it was, but it is the first one I remember. The opening scene of the film, on that giant screen, is etched onto my memory. As the library ghost transformed from spooky, floating old lady, into a giant screaming monster, I actually leapt out of my seat and into the row behind. Then I sat back down with my family and watched the rest of the film. 

That moment, was the first time I experienced the rush of fear a film can give you. I was hooked. I think in many ways Ghostbusters is responsible for me ending up a horror writer.

It was one of the first films I bought on video ( note for kids, videos are those black bricks your granny has on her shelf, they are like prehistoric DVD's or Blu Rays), and I think I watched it at least once a day for about eight years, seriously even now I can recite the entire movie. 

It of course led on to The Real Ghostbusters cartoon show, comics, and toys. All of which I collected. Somewhere my parents have a photo of me in a boiler suit toting my proton pack.

Many of my lasting friendships are based on a mutual love of Ghostbusters and yes even Ghostbusters II, though to a lesser degree. 

What I am trying to say is I can't imagine how different my life would be without Ghostbusters and thus the death of Harold Ramis has cut me deeper than I ever thought it would.

I am sure his legacy will live on, but the world has lost a great writer, director and comedic actor all in one foul swoop. 

Rest in peace Dr. Spengler.

 You will be missed.

Odd Thomas Movie

February 10, 2014

 

Ever since I first read Dean Koontz's wonderful novel Odd Thomas, I have been waiting for a film version. There was something special about that book, and the rest of the series too, that screamed great movie at me. The central character, Odd, is just so likeable and his adventures so intriguing and exciting, that it had blockbuster written all over it.

So when I heard there was a movie in production, by the man responsible for the 'The Mummy', I have to admit I was fairly excited. Though I don't think that 'The Mummy' was an amazing film it certainly showed off Stephen Sommers ability to blend action/adventure with horror.

The film was plagued with financial problems during and after production and somehow only managed to secure a straight to DVD release here in the UK. This I feel is a great shame, as I think it really had the potential to be a massive hit here.

The film stars Anton Yelchin ( Chekov from the Star Trek reboots) as the titular hero. He is everything that Odd needs to be, he is unassuming, friendly and charismatic.  The plot revolves around Odd, yes that is his real name, a short order fry cook with the ability to see the dead, and avenge them by finding their killers. Odd also has premonitions of the future though the images he sees are often vague. He also sees creatures called Bodachs. These otherworldly beings are harbingers of death. 

His home town of Pico Mundo, is suddenly overrun with these creatures only Odd can see, and he knows that this means the town is heading for a disaster of unimaginable scale. With the help of the local police chief and his girlfriend, Stormy, Odd sets out to discover what is about to happen, and if he can stop it.

The film has a great atmosphere and is paced really well. Are there differences to the book, of course, the ghost of Elvis doesn't hang around Odd in the film, some characters have had their roles drastically cut, and Odd has gained a few new powers such as psychometry ( the ability to touch people or objects and get a sense of their past). These changes are not detrimental to the story though. I loved ghost Elvis in the book, but see how in the film it could have come across as too ridiculous.

I have read people talking about how cheesy some of the dialogue between Odd and Stormy is, but as far as I could tell it was exactly how they spoke in the books, a lot of the dialogue is lifted straight off the pages of the novel. I think the tender, innocent romance between Stormy and Odd is what outs this film, and it's source novel, a step above other stories in this genre. You can really feel the emotion between the two of them, and this makes some parts of the film heart rending to watch.

Talking of Stormy, the casting of Addison Timlin in this role was a stroke of genius. She, looks, sounds and acts exactly as I had imagined Stormy when reading the novel. She brings a great heart to the film.

People will of course always hate on screen adaptations of books they love, the filmmaker can never please everyone, but I think in defense of this film it is worth noting that it is the only adaptation of his work that Dean Koontz has liked.

My fear is that the small release caused by the financial problems the film underwent, will be a barrier to getting a sequel. There are six more books in the series, and all of them deserve the same treatment this one got. Fingers crossed and in Odd we trust!

You Always Remember Your First Horror Movie

February 3, 2014

I often get asked why I choose to write horror? There is often a derogatory implication in the question. Whether this is in the person asking the question or just the insecurity of a writer working in such an oft reviled genre I don't know.

The answer I usually give is that I love horror and always have. However, I have recently been thinking upon this answer, and though it is certainly true that I do love the genre to this day, I can't have always loved horror. Once upon a time I loved 'Bambi' and 'Pinocchio' (if I'm honest I still love them). I have been trying to figure out at what point I fell in love with horror.

The first film a remember seeing at the cinema was 'Ghostbusters', and though this film contains he supernatural it is far from horror. Maybe seeing that did in someway influence my life long passion for the darker stories of the world. But I think there is a film that is far more directly responsible.

Anyone who saw this film for the first time between the ages of five and ten will likely hold the film in such high regard, as I myself do, that they actually feel a real threat to their precious childhood memories from the forthcoming remake. Whenever I think about the film due to be released next year, I want to be positive, and open minded, but all I can feel is the cold dread of disappointment.

There will only ever be one 'Poltergeist'. The film has such a unique feel, and charm that I think would be impossible to replicate. Poltergeist exists in a precarious position of being halfway between a family film and a horror film. It is a fine line that is straddles with such deft brilliance, that it is simultaneously a scary and heart warming film.

I remember the first time I watched the film. I was a little nervous, this was after all a horror film, and at seven years old this was a new experience for me. I was still scared of ghosts, and monsters under the bed. The nervousness was mixed with the excitement of anticipation though, and these two things together created a feeling that was like electricity shooting through my spine. It is the feeling that I long for every time I sit down to watch a horror film, but I rarely get it anymore.

'Poltergeist' was pitch perfect, it really is the ideal introduction to horror. The film is a testament to the talents of its producer/ writer Steven Spielberg, and its director Tobe Hooper. There is something magical about the film that I still feel when I watch it now.

The film industry, hell bent on re telling every story, will argue of course that the film has dated badly, and thus is in need of remaking for a modern audience. While the film is certainly a product of its time, there are a lot of references to iconic things from the early 80s, is this really a problem though?

People of a certain age, I include myself in this, still love the original because it reminds us of a very specific time in our childhoods. Every time I watch the film and see all of the Star Wars toys and memorabilia in the kids bedroom, I am transported to my own childhood bedroom, which looked very similar, apart from the cupboard that suck children into the parallel universe of the dead of course. 

As a child, and now, I loved watching the early Bond films of Sean Connery, despite the fact that these films had dated badly by the early eighties. Yet I could enjoy these films, as I'm sure many people reading this did. If we were capable of enjoying films made over a decade before we were born, then surely modern audiences can enjoy the original Poltergeist now. 

I often think that the film industry has got into a terrible habit of underestimating it's audiences. Therefore the same stories have to be told every few years just so new audiences can relate to it. This is of course is nonsense. 

The central story of a family coming together to fight a supernatural evil in their home is universal. Regardless of when the tale is set or told the audience can relate to it. It has been used recently in the films 'Insidious' and 'The Conjuring', even my own debut novel, 'Beneath', deals with this same universal premise. 

I really hope that the 'Poltergeist' remake will do justice to the special place the original holds in my heart, and the heart of countless other, but I fear it will not, and that it will sully the good name of that film. I think my main fear is that it would be to easy to shift the tone a little too far either way, this would make the film either, too family orientated with not enough scares, or the other way and push it too far into the realm of horror. Either of these would be disastrous in my opinion. 

Perhaps the film makers will prove me wrong, but as much as I hope they will, I don't think that is going to happen. Do you?

The House of 200 Demons

January 30, 2014

There has been a lot of coverage on the internet, and in the news, over the last few days about the story of Latoya Ammons and her family, and the the torment they suffered at the hands of over 200 demonic entities in their home.

Let me start off by saying that I do, to a degree, believe in the possibility of the paranormal. I have my self spent cold nights investigating allegedly haunted asylums, airfields and homes, in the hope of finding some proof of the paranormal. Though I believe, to a degree, I always try to look for logical explanations before I let my mind run to the possibility of the supernatural.

As a horror writer, I like to keep up to date with any interesting supernatural phenomena occurring in the world, it can often lead to great story ideas. Usually what you find are incidents that make good starting points, but that you have to exaggerate severely to make a good horror story.

When I first read the Ammons story I thought somebody had already done that. The events that the family experienced already sound like the plot of a horror movie.

It started in 2011 when Latoya, her three children and her mother, moved into a rented home in Gary Indiana. The first things that happened were swarms of horse flies outside the front door, unusual as it was November. Then footsteps could be heard in the basement. Strange, wet and muddy footprints would appear in the carpets. The family would hear the sound of dogs barking coming from the basement.

It soon progressed to shadowy figures being seen around the home, and banging and knocking. Ms Ammons, and her children all began to show signs of possession. The children would often speak in deep, hoarse voices as their eyes bulged. Latoya heard her daughter screaming and found the girl levitating above her bed.  

The most shocking incident describes her 9 year old son, smiling demonically before walking backwards up a wall to the ceiling. 

I have to admit that at this point in the story I was thinking this was all a bunch of lies, designed to get the Ammons family money and fame. However when you read deeper into the story there is an alarming amount of credible evidence to support the story.

The Indiana newspaper that first ran the story was in possession of over 800 pages of official reports, pertaining to the case.

The police were called out countless times and a local police Captain stated that although he had initially suspected the ‘Haunting’ was part of a get rich quick scheme, after spending time in the house he was ‘a believer’. He also stated he would not set foot in the house at night. This sentiment was echoed by many of the other police officers who had attended the home.

 

The Photograph above is an official police photograph, taken when no one was in the house, yet a white figure is clearly visible at the window. Now i’m not going to say I believe the photograph 100%, it could after all just be some kind of reflection. When you look at it along with the police statements, it does seem more credible.

The wall walking incident mentioned earlier is one of the best documented occurrences in the case. It did not happen in the family home, it was in the busy emergency room of the local hospital. Five people witnessed it. Three were family members. Of the other two, one was a child protection officer, there to investigate any chance of abuse. Who recorded the incident in her official paperwork. The other was an ER nurse, who said there was no way the boy should have been able to do it.

So all of these witnesses, official reports and evidence suggest that perhaps, disturbingly, there is some truth in the tale. I could perhaps believe a family could come up with a story like this to make money, it is suggested that is what the Lutz family did in the case of the Amityville Horror. Perhaps I could believe one or two others could be roped in to the charade for a cut of the prophets.  

However I find it hard to believe that so many people of good standing would be a part of it. Especially the Child Protection officer. If you were sent to investigate reports of child abuse, would you go along with such a far fetched story just on the off chance of a profit? i don’t think so.

It’s a strange world we live in, and stories like this can’t help but make you wonder.

10 Tips For Generating Story Ideas

January 22, 2014

Today's blog is a few tips for generating ideas for horror stories or novels.

As a writer you will probably have days when the ideas just drop into your mind like a gift from the gods of horror. However, there will probably be those other times when you are bashing your head against the wall, hoping to dislodge some semblance of an idea.

Those are the tough days, the ones that make you wonder if you have made the right decision, whether writing really is the right career path. Don't panic, it's something we all go through. Here's the big secret, ideas are around you all the time, you just have to train your mind to spot them, and let your imagination run away with them.

 1. Newspapers.

Have you ever been flicking through a newspaper and caught sight of headline out of the corner of your eye that has made you go huh? It tends to happen in the sidebar stories. The headline is so dramatic, or just plain insane that you have to read the story. For example something like.

'Man eaten by wolves in city centre'

When you read the story it is much more mundane, the man wasn't eaten just bitten, and the wolf was in an enclosure in a city centre zoo.

The headline though could be used as a starting point for a story. Look for headlines that spur little what if questions in you mind, like what if a pack of hungry wolves were hunting the city streets. 

2. Dreams /Nightmares

As a horror author it is your duty to scare your reader, the best way of doing this is to scare yourself. Our nightmares are our brains way of processing our fears. Use the dreams that scare you to scare others. 

3. Eavesdropping.

This one is a great and entertaining thing to try. Pick a place where you will be able to sit quietly and listen to other people talk, cafés are good. Often you will here snatches of conversation that out of context make no sense, but if you try and fill in the blanks from your imagination, you will be surprised at the results. Listening to people talking on the phone is also great for this as you can only hear one side of the conversation.

4 mythology and folklore.

Horror and fantasy writers having been reading ancients myths and folklore for centuries. Look into the myths, try and find something that hasn't had an airing for a while and rework it and bring it up to date. Fairy tales are also good for this. 

5. Bad movies/Books

Have you ever watched a film, or read a book, that had a great premise, but was let down by every aspect of its production. When you've finished have you thought what a waste of a good idea, I could have told that story better? Well go on, change the setting, the characters, the plot just use the same premise.

6. Titles

This one can be really useful. Sit and write a list of possible titles for a book or story. Nothing you have ideas for, just titles that sound intriguing. When you're done put the list away for a couple of days, then come back to it and you will be amazed at the ideas that come to you just from reading a good title.

7. Your life.

Think of the scariest, weirdest or just plain most bizarre thing that has ever happened to you. Now picture if it had played out differently, what if the cat knocking something over downstairs had been a ghost? Imagine how you would have reacted. There's the start of a story.

8. Other Peoples Lives.

Pretty much as above, except ask friends and family to tell you their experiences. Of course it is only right to tell them what you are doing, and let them decide if they want to or not. 

9. Song Titles

This one is really easy, put your iTunes on random, or switch on the radio, whatever song comes on, it's title is the title of your story. Imagine how that songs name could fit to a horror story.

10. Stop Looking.

This is the most important tip, if none of the above are working, take a break. Go away from it for a while. Stop trying to think of stories. Go on holiday, spend time with friends and family. Before you know it the story gods will drop another idea in your lap.

I hope this helps anyone who is struggling. Though I have aimed these tips specifically at horror writing, there is no reason you can't use them for any other genre.

Why Self Publish?

January 13, 2014

One question I am frequently asked is this. Why are you self published?

It is a question that I’m sure many self published authors have been asked countless times. I have seen answers about how other authors were fed up of rejection, and thus self published their work. Other authors have stated that they wanted to be in charge of their own destinies.

Neither of these answers are quite right for me though. I cannot say that I have received masses of rejections as I haven’t. I have never tried submitting my work to a publisher, and only tried submitting my debut novel ‘Beneath’ to one agent, who did reject it, but in a very positive and encouraging way. I do like that I am in control of my work completely, but only because I am very lucky in some respects.  My father has been an artist and graphic designer for his whole life. This means that he can design wonderful covers for me, free of charge. I have a friend who is an editor and loves my stories, thus she edits my work free of charge, just to have the pleasure of being the first to read them. 

If i did not have these people, and others, supporting my efforts, I don’t think I would enjoy the process quite as much. To quote Uncle Ben (the one from Spider-man, not the rice guy) ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ Being a self published author is hard work. I spend as much, if not more, time promoting my work as I do writing it. Writing is my job, that and full time father. My wife works and we need every penny from the sales I make to keep a roof over our heads. If I had to pay for well designed covers and editing, i don’t think we would be in a position to afford it. This is not a poor me kind of comment, it is just a statement of fact.

There are no advances for self-publishing. I make money from sales of my work, and not for at least two months after the sale. The money that comes in from my sales keeps the wolves from the door.  

Promotion takes up a lot of time. Seriously, I am permanently attached to my iPad, promoting the book, emailing people about the book, or just researching new ways and places to promote my book.

Some people excel at this sort of thing, and they are the people who should really consider self publishing. 

So why did I self publish? I simply wanted to get my work out there as soon as possible. I’m quite impatient, and the thought of hunting for an agent, having them pitching the book to publishers, signing contracts, waiting 12-18 months for the book to be released. All of this sounded like to long a process for me. I wanted to know if people would read my work. If they would enjoy it. If it would gain positive reviews. This is the honest reason I chose the self publishing route.

As it turns out the route has been good for me. My work gets fairly consistent good reviews, and I have a small, but loyal, and ever growing fan base, all eager for my next book.

I don’t think anyone in this day and age should favour one route over the other. Self publishing has come into its own in the last four or five years, and is quickly losing much of the stigma that it used to have. Traditional publishing though is still a valid route, and i would never say that i would not take that route if the opportunity arose. After all, a traditional publisher, especially one of the ‘Big 6’ has a marketing machine that will get your books name to far more people than you could hope to on your own. 

However, with the right strategy, and hard work you can now make a success of self publishing. I would how ever advise you not to buy to many of the books that promise to tell you the secrets to self publishing success. They all say pretty much the same thing, and as far as I can see, they are making a success of self publishing by getting people who want to make a success of self publishing to buy their books on how to make a success of self publishing. 

Accept that you need to spend time, building up your fan base, and your social media, and attending events, and talking to people who have read and enjoyed your book (especially make time for that one, they deserve your full attention). Connect with other authors, and people in the field. From my experience authors don’t see each other as competition, but as colleagues, and are always willing to talk shop and give out friendly advice. 

If you want fame, I would suggest you go the traditional route, as this is still the best way to achieve that.

If you want to write and be read, self publishing is the quickest way to achieve that.

If you want to be rich, then for God’s sake become a banker or a lawyer. It’s far more likely to happen in those fields than writing.

SPOOKY NEW YEAR

January 4, 2014

Well a Happy New Year to you all.

2013 was an interesting year for me, and hopefully for you too. Now it’s time to look forward to 2014, and wonder what this year will bring us. I personally have quite a few projects going on already this year. My new novel, ‘The Wilds’ was delayed from its planned end of the year release, but will be available very soon. I am already well under way on another novel. As well as working on a second short story collection, and a non fiction book with my wife. 

As you can imagine with all of this going on, it’s hard to keep up with regular blogging, but I shall endeavour to at least put up two new blogs a month, that is my New Years resolution. Like last year they will be a random smattering of pieces about writing, publishing, the horror genre, film reviews, interviews, and whatever else crosses my mind. So without further delay let’s begin the first blog of the year.

 

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES

For those of you that have avoided the cinema, or other people for the last 5 years the Paranormal Activity series is the latest, seemingly unending horror franchise (taking over from Saw when they finally decided enough was enough). Though released in 2009 the first film in the series was made in 2007 (for an estimated $15,000) by first time director Oren Peli. The film was a smash hit on its release, it was a found footage story of a couple whose home was plagued by demonic forces. The film excelled in the less is more area, showing us very little but a few footprints and a shadow. The rest of the film was all about tension, and sound, as the couples lives became more and more effected by the entity in their home.

The success of the movie ( a US gross of $107,917,283) led to the inevitable sequel. Personally I find Paranormal Activity 2 to e the best and most entertaining of the series. It followed much the same formula as the first, but the scares were more cleverly crafted and the story added to the mythos of the first movie.

This was the followed by Paranormal Activity 3, a story that went back in time to 1980’s camcorder footage of the protagonists of the first two films as children, and how the horror began. Though this film shed some light on some things it left too many questions unanswered and created even more new questions. The scares in the 3rd installment had become a little formulaic and predictable. After the first two films I had seen enough people being dragged off by unseen assailants and was ready for more, which sadly the film didn’t deliver.

Then came Paranormal Activity 4 (AKA the one that made 3 look like a great film).  This film takes place after the events of parts 1 and 2,  and is in my opinion is very boring and derivative, it feels like a rehash of part 2 with very few good scares or plot development, it adds nothing new to the mythos. 

By this point I, and most other people I know, were feeling that the franchise had lost its way and become stale.  Part 5 was slated for release last halloween originally, but has now been postponed until October 2014, or has it?

Last night I went to the cinema to watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. This film was advertised as a spin off from the series, and not an official sequel. The film centers solely on a Hispanic community in Oxnard California, where after the death of an old woman (believed by all locals to be a witch) Jesse begins to experience strange phenomena. SPOILERS AHEAD. At first these seem exciting, he seems to have superhuman strength, and cannot fall down as some unseen force seems to be catching him. Of course this doesn’t last long before the sinister nature of these events are felt. Jesse begins to change, become more distant and cold towards his family and friends, and aggressive towards everyone. When his friends try to help him Jesse goes full on bat shit crazy possessed and it becomes a fight for his and his friends lives. 

I won’t give away too much of the plot, as I hate to read reviews that do that. What I will say is this film is excellent. The scares are incredibly well crafted. The pace of the film is pitch perfect. The acting is astonishing, and finally we get to see more than just people being dragged off by the invisible man. It still doesn’t show as much as other horror movies would, but there is a definite rise in the intensity of the ‘activity’ within the film. 

I believe beyond any shadow of a doubt that this film is not a spin off, but a direct sequel and the true Part 5. The film directly links to all of the previous films. It answers questions left hanging by those films, and adds greatly to the mythos of the series. So why the spin off  status? The only thing I can think is that after the disappointment that was part 4, they wanted to regain peoples interest and thought that dubbing this a spin off would make more people willing to give it a chance, and as far as I’m concerned it worked. I for one now can’t wait for Halloween, and the release of Paranormal Activity 5 (though I will really see it as part 6) as this film has wetted my appetite for the franchise once more, and set up some wonderful possibilities for where it could go.

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