Goodbye 2013 – You’ve been a complete bastard and I love you.
2013 has been a year of complete contrast for me.
In many respects it’s been a year that ripped my heart from my chest and stomped it into the ground. I lost not one, but two of my beloved cats (one on Valentines day and the other on my other half’s birthday) and had to spend months working away from home in a job that I hated, which really didn’t help my frame of mind.
I walked away from my reviewer job at Starbust Magazine because, well, they weren’t paying me and their attitude stank. I also quit the HWA and withdrew High Moor 2 and all of my future works from Stoker consideration because I was not prepared to put up with the bullshit that goes with being on that list. I won’t go into details about what happened there, because the person involved seems to get very upset and threaten legal action if I say things, however those wanting to read a comedic children’s story that was not remotely inspired by my falling out with the HWA should check out “Reba the Evil Chipmunk and the Gold Star” in the stories section 🙂
So yes, in many respects, 2013 has been hideous. However, there have been some incredibly positive things happen this year.
Firstly, High Moor 2: Moonstruck finally made its way into the hands of an eagerly awaiting public in March. And promptly sold 800 copies in the first month. The reception that this novel had has really blown me away. It made the best novels of the year list on Gingernuts of Horror, and at the time of me withdrawing it, had the second highest number of recs in the Stoker awards, just behind Joe Hill’s NOS4R2.
The success of Moonstruck allowed me to move forward with my long term plan, because all of a sudden I had money in the imprints bank account. In July I purchased the rights to Horrific Tales first third party novel, Whisper by Michael Bray. With a new cover and a pretty extensive edit by Simon Marshall Jones at Spectral Press, we relaunched the book at the end of September to what can only be described as massive success. The book really took off and has sold more than 1600 copies in the last three months. As you can imagine, this has made everyone involved really rather happy, especially Michael who will probably earn his advance back in the next week or so.
One of the more positive things that happened in 2013 was the release of Great British Horror Volume 1. Eight British Indie horror authors – Greg James, Iain Rob Wright, Ian Woodhead, Craig Saunders, Matt Shaw, Willie Meikle, Michael Bray and myself put a complete novel or novella from our back catalogue forward for a box set of books, with every last penny of the proceeds going to Centrepoint, which is a UK charity supporting homeless children. We even managed to get a foreword from New York Times bestselling author, Tim Lebbon. We launched the book at the end of August, and so far its earned close to £500 for charity. It feels great to be involved in such a worthy cause and while we were originally only going to keep the book on sale for a short time, we have collectively decided to keep it available indefinitely.
And finally, the audiobook of the original High Moor was released in October. Chris Barnes of Dynamic Ram Productions did an astonishing job with this, coming up with a proper performance that is as close to a movie version as we are likely to get for a while. Fans of the book really should check it out because he knocks it out of the ball park.
So…what lies ahead for 2014?
Well, Horrific Tales Publishing is going from strength to strength. We will be releasing our next novel, Of A Feather by Ken Goldman on 2nd January – it’s an amazing book. One of my favourite reads of the last year, and I can’t wait for you all to read it. One advance reviewer called it a cross between Carrie and The Birds, which isn’t far off the basic premise, but doesn’t come close to capturing how engaging and gripping a story it is.
Chris Barnes is returning to the recording studio on 6th January to begin work on the High Moor 2 audiobook, which I honestly can’t wait to hear. That one should be out around May.
High Moor 3 is getting there, and should be out in either March or April. It’s taking me a little longer to get this one finished than I would have liked, because there are a lot of plot threads to tidy up. Rest assured, it’s on its way and I think that fans of the original two books will love the way that the trilogy is going to finish. If you haven’t signed up to the books Facebook page yet, I recommend that you do so. It gets updated more often than this blog does and has a couple of little snippets from High Moor 3 on there to whet your appetite.
We also have the contracts signed for “Art” which is a collaborative novel between the brilliant Matt Shaw and Michael Bray. Art is a serial killer tale, with Matt writing the killer and Michael writing the detective hunting him. It has some of the most disturbing imagery that I’ve ever read in it. We are working together to iron out the structural and flow issues now before it goes off to the editor in late January. Hopefully that one will be out around the same time as High Moor 3.
Beyond that…well, Michael is working hard on the sequel to Whisper which I’m hopeful we can bring you over the summer, and there may be one or two other books out later in the year, and I’m already talking to one or two authors about tentative 2015 release slots.
So, all things considered, 2013 has been a transitory year for me. It’s been difficult, but the groundwork has been laid for bigger and better things in the years to come. 2014 is going to be busy, and its going to be stressful. But it’s shaping up to be a hell of a ride, and I hope that you’ll join me on it.