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ImageThe first draft of horror Magick is now complete. It is 80,000 words long. 

The story centres on Boleskine House, one-time residence of occultist Aleister Crowley. Four friends decide to spend a weekend there for a reunion in advance of a forthcoming wedding. They awake long-dormant horrors as the tensions between themselves spill out into the open, revealing secrets from the history of the house, from their own pasts and from Crowley’s disastrous Abra-Melin ritual.

A horde of possessed pigs run amok, ghostly severed heads appear from nowhere, there are plagues of flies and maggots, the appearance of flame-blackened skulls heralds the echo of an long-ago church-burning, a butcher severs his hand in a macabre accident, a visiting BBC film crew are plagued by insects and call on a priest to perform an exorcism, a goat-headed demon looms from a mist-shrouded hilltop, something monstrous rises to the surface of Loch Ness,the friends flee the house in terror after re-awakening the demons of the ritual and stumble upon an underground secret and a skeletal figure rising from a crypt…

Will any of them survive with bodies, minds and souls intact?

Publishers, please form an orderly queue… 😉



Write Into 2013

Posted: January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

ImageGood Lord! It’s 2013 already. Where has the time gone? 

Well, 2012 was a busy year. There were publication successes, with short stories appearing in Action: Pulse Pounding Tales Volume 1 (‘Valley of Death’), Tales of the Sword (‘The Tale of Cuchulainn’ and ‘King For A Day’) and Shorelines (‘Billy Boys’) anthologies. Many thanks to Matt Hilton, Dorothy Davies and the Federation of Writers Scotland, for choosing these stories.

The Japanese anthology A Thousand Cranes featured at Cargo Publishing’s Margins Festival earlier this year. Also, my short story ‘Billy Boys‘ featured at an Outside Thoughts event and is available as a podcast with ‘excessive swearing’.

I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time…. since last year, when I stood on my laptop halfway through the month! The resulting story ‘Demon Eyes‘ is complete (53,000 words) and halfway through a first edit (will probably end up at 60,000 as I usually write too little and too fast first time around). It will be released by me this year, for free or a nominal price, as 2013 is the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War and the antagonist of the novel is none other than demonic former Prime Minister Tony Blair, literally Hell-bent on seizing power in Europe.

The other work-in-progress is called Magick, and features four friends who arrange a weekend break at Boleskine House on Loch Ness, drawn by its macabre reputation as one-time residence of ‘black magician’ Aleister Crowley. Past and present collide with horrific consequences as they unravel the secret of the Abra-melin demon summoning ritual conducted over a century earlier. This should be finished in early 2013.

New stories include two novella-length ‘things’ set in urban dystopia and haunted Japan. Both of these need a lot of work! Got a handful of other ideas as well, all horror. So, once Demon Eyes and Magick are done, it’ll be onto something new, which will be welcome.

Last year, it was good to see fellow scribblers Lynsey May (New Writers Award), Gill Hoffs (too much to mention!) and Emma Briant (academia) succeed in the fiction and non-fiction worlds. Glasgow Writers Group has been enjoyable, as has Weegie Wednesday, for anyone looking to get involved in the world of words. I also enjoyed Tales from the Mall by Ewan Morrison, which has quite an overlap with my day job, and he now has a year’s supply of Glenfiddich to get through. Well done to everyone else who has persevered over the last twelve months.

And, finally, By The Sword is performing respectably. A few hundred copies have been sold, which isn’t bad in the world of independent publishing versus big publishing, with no significant media exposure or high street presence. Wild Wolf Publishing are a great outfit, promoting dark and edgy fiction for those brave enough to read it.

Best of luck to all for 2013!

My Predictions for 2013

Posted: December 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

1. The Queen will abdicate. Her Majesty will claim the onset of old age, but the real reason is a Christmas Day 2012 dispute with Charles over who won a cracker-pull and got to wear the crown. An attempt by the Duke of Edinburgh to mediate was unsuccessful (“leave it aht, Phil, ‘e ain’t worv it!”) and Charles assumes the throne, with the title Zog II, inspired by King Zog of the Albanians, the coolest monarch’s name in human history.

2. The government will introduce an “oxygen tax” on aerobic metabolic activity in a desperate attempt to reduce the fiscal deficit caused by handing over generations of taxpayers’ money to bankers. “No one need worry about asphyxiation,” they will claim, as a 20 page form for qualified oxygen tax relief is introduced.

3. Gay marriage proposals will reach the legislative stages, resulting in a backlash from the bigoted backbenches, who will raise the spectre of “gay stag parties” descending on British cities, dressed as cowboys, indians, sailors, builders, motorcyclists and policemen. However, a messy compromise will be agreed with reactionary Conservatives, with a composite bill legalising foxhunting for gay married couples and long queues of people in hunting-red and fake moustaches outside registry offices and participating churches (marry one, marry another one free while the offer lasts, terms and conditions apply).

4. The Scottish independence referendum arrangements will be unveiled. Voters (anyone who hates the English will be eligible) will be presented with a choice of two options: “Freedom from the English oppressors who murdered William Wallace, cleared the glens for sheep and who want our oil” or “continued slavery under the English yoke for all eternity”.

5. The second part of The Hobbit trilogy will be released. Bilbo finally makes it from Bag End after the extended dwarfs dinner-party of the first episode and spends most of the film in a riddle-battle with a mysterious creature who is revealed to be Gollum at the very end, padded out with lots of footage of brooding elves. Director Peter Jackson reveals that the 351 page novel will be a “trilogy of trilogies” and returns to New Zealand to begin filming the second trilogy.

6. Author JK Rowling’s 2012 Christmas shopping list (Waitrose and M&S) is the subject of a frenzied bidding war in the publishing industry. She pushes her long-faithful agent off a cliff and sells the rights to Rupert Murdoch in return for the Moon. The BBC adapts The Casual Shopping Trip into a lavish drama with bits of searing social commentary.

7. Geriatric erotica is the surprising publishing hit of 2013, and quickly becomes know as Granny Porn. “Ada slowly slipped her teeth from her liver-spotted lips, drool trailing from the glistening pink gums as she turned her silver-permed head towards me….” The large print version will be uncomfortably visible on buses and trains up and down the country.

8. Amazon will unveil a Kindle that can be read in the bath and *doesn’t break every bloody year*

9. The Edinburgh Tram will finally begin operations on December 31 2013, when a single vehicle leaves the depot at Gogar and arrives at St Andrew Square in time for 23:59hrs, to meet contractual obligations and allow the payment of bonuses. Tickets will be sold for £250 including a glass of cash-and-carry vintage bubbly.

10. The longrunning Doctor Who series will see another incarnation of The Doctor in time for Christmas Day television. The umpteenth Doctor (a grandfather in the first series) will make his appearance from a well known boy band, further alienating loyal Whovians, in a celebrity packed episode when the Master (a rogue Time Lord with two hearts two sizes too small) aided by the Daleks and the Cybermen attempt to steal Earth’s Christmas presents and the Doctor has to put on a red suit and fake beard to foil his plans. Loyal fans vote it the worst episode since that one with Sylvester McCoy and the monsters made of sweets.

Demon Eyes

Posted: November 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Demon Eyes is now complete … my NaNoWriMo project, 51,000 words in one month. I’ll edit it and have it out by the end of the year!

Europe is in crisis.
One man steps forward to offer leadership and vision.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair stands for the first elected Presidency of Europe, ten years after the Iraq War.

But what dark secret is he hiding?
Has he paid the ultimate price for power…his soul?
How many more will die to slake his thirst for power?
Is the world on the brink of destruction at the hands of the “Man of Sin”, foretold in the Bible?

Journalist Amy Hannah stumbles on a bloody conspiracy stretching from Brussels to the Vatican, the sands of Iraq and the redwood groves of California, reaching its terrifying conclusion in the sinister Hellfire Caves deep under the Chiltern Hills.

Will she live to reveal the secret behind the “demon eyes”?

The Next Big Thing

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

This is a Q&A, passed on to me and to be shared with five other writers… I will nominate you soon!

What is the working title of your book?
– Magick.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
– A trip to Loch Ness, on the shore opposite the one-time home of “black magician” Aleister Crowley.

What genre does your book fall under?
– Horror… definitely horror.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
– Four unknowns and a period-type actor for Crowley… don’t know of many actors who spring to mind!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
– Four friends visit Boleskine House, one-time residence of the infamous Aleister Crowley, and are besieged by demons and ghosts… will any of them survive?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
– Very reluctant to self-publish as this seems mainstream horror, so the long haul of pitching it starts shortly!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
– Since April, about six months, but still writing…. will probably finish the first draft in the next week or so.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
– Probably James Herbert, in his Sepulchre and Magic Cottage era… at least that’s what I’m aiming for!

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
– A visit to Loch Ness, on the northern shore opposite Boleskine, and the many intriguing myths that surround the place and the demonic rituals it hosted.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
– Some of the terrifying content is based on fact and I spent a very uneasy night on a follow-up research trip to Boleskine and Foyers.


Posted: July 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Fifty Shades of Decay is now complete, and published on this blog. And there is plenty more happening…

Magick is in hand, but with a number of threads coming together, and a visit to the shores of Loch Ness planned to add a sense of place to the writing…

Cauldron is also in progress, with the Roman Britain prequel elements nearly complete and some scribbled notes following a convenient coastal holiday…

Freedom’s Sword is the new title of the second Grace Andrew novel, sequel to By The Sword, and this is inspired by the impending 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, mixing politics, corruption and murder…

I have a number of urban horror short stories that I’m weaving together in a novella with the title Edgetown

Plus a short story underway called Carnival, inspired by a fairground visit, in the tradition of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes…. a sinister carnival arrives at a 1930s dustbowl town with slaughter in mind!

 I was in the Royal Air Force for a while. As well as washing bottles and painting the grass green, my duties included the weighty responsibility of the Air Defence of Great Britain. So I can confidently reveal the top-secret plans for the Defence of the London Summer Olympic Games 2012 (before the copyright police shut me down).

FATIMA System. The Force Air Tracking Interceptor Missile Apparatus. The RAF will be re-commissioning Fatima Whitbread, who will be stationed on top of the London Eye.  With the aid of the reconstituted Royal Observer Corps (manned by paparazzi granted lifetime image rights on Princess Catherine Middleton’s backside), the FATIMA system will provide 24/7 coverage of Greater London, except for toilet breaks. She will be supplied with sustainable organic projectiles (codename “Javelin”) to launch at any errant airliner. This capability far exceeds anything in the current inventory of the UK Armed Forces.

 BARRAGE NANNIES. In addition to the FATIMA system, every London nanny (with the Cameron and Osborne households exempted) will be conscripted and issued with a standard POPPINS, MARY umbrella. They will float in the air around the Olympic venues, providing a physical barrier to any air terrorist act.

 PROJECT HEATHROW. The potential air threat from domestic and international air travel will be completely eliminated by a carefully-designed plan to eliminate all air traffic movements from above the London skies. Already, massive backlogs in arrivals at Heathrow are deterring potential jihadists. By the time of the Olympics, there will be a three-month waiting time to clear UK Border Agency arrivals. So any terrorist will be forced to delay their atrocity until after the Olympics have concluded.

 COVERT SNIPERS. As with any major events, there will be police marksmen stationed on rooftops. In this case, they will be cunningly disguised – as chimney sweeps. The long brush-handles will in fact be the barrels of rifles, and the armed officers have been trained in the characteristic “dance” to enhance their disguise, as well as making rapid ascents and descents via chimneys.

 OTHER CONTINGENCIES. In order to ensure the smooth running of the country, further contingencies have been planned. Bankers’ bonuses will be relocated to a top-secret vault safe from attack, ministers will be conducting day-to-day business from their Oxfordshire mansions and MPs will be granted additional “third homes”. Public reassurance will be provided to concerned Londoners as well. Dame Judi Dench will be dressed as the Queen Mum (Gawd Bless ‘Er), walking the streets of Lahndon, telling people to Keep Calm and Carry On.

So, we have nothing to fear! Keep Calm and Carry On!


The Weegie Dead

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

What if Glasgow was over-run by zombies? Not Philadelphia, not some made-up place, but Glasgow? That is the idea behind The Weegie Dead, a collaborative zombie gorefest centred on the people and places of Glasgow.

It will be bounced around Glasgow Writers, like pass-the-parcel. Just for fun, but we’ll see what happens.

So far… the police have discovered the corpse of “Bucky” McFast, a jakey* with a reputation as unkillable, due to his intake of intoxicating substances. The death is attributed to a new street drug called “Rip” or “Ripper” which burns out its users faster than anything else on the street.

As the lawyers argue over the disposal of Bucky’s corpse and estate (he is, in fact, the disgraced Angus Horatio Buckingham-McFast, of the Buckingham-McFasts), something twitches beneath the mortuary shroud…

Coming soon… corpses rise from the Necropolis and break out from the glass cases of the Anatomy Museum. What will happen next? Will Glaswegians barricade the Buchanan Centre? What about the Old Firm games? These, and many more, questions to be answered sometime soon…

*Jakey = tramp, down-and-out, usually laid low by alcohol and/or drugs