New House, New Cover Art, Pneumonia

So we (my girlfriend and I) have moved out of our cramped one bed flat and into a three bed house. I can finally spread out a bit. I have my own study where I can write this nonsense and, more importantly, spill the rotten effluence which gathers in my brain and eventually becomes fantasy fiction. I also have enough room to do some artwork, such as the cover art you see to the right which I did for David Pilling’s historical saga, The White Hawk, set during the Wars of the Roses.

So I have spent the last couple of days pottering about and cursing the estate agent who charged us a small fortune but failed to ensure we had a working oven. Estate agents. The bastards. I have never met a single one who didn’t make me want to pin them down and file their eyeballs off. If I got my way I would round the fuckers up and cram them all into a pit with some angry wolverines, possibly after injecting them with a powerful hallucinogen just to make the experience extra terrifying. I mean, come on. An oven. It is very simple. Evil shits.

But I didn’t let that get me down. Not me. Oh no. It takes a lot more than that to get a man of my calibre down. I let the nagging pain in my ankles, knees and lungs get me down instead. In hindsight running to and from football knowing full well my joints are made of sand was a poorly thought out idea. Now I am hobbling around, groaning and gasping with every movement as though I’ve spent the last month in Kathy Bates’ attic. Not only that but my lungs seem to have decided they’re not all that keen on breathing any more. Fuck sake! A spot of rain and a bit of a fresh breeze and that’s it – no more breathing for me. I feel like I’m about a hundred.

Well, I’ll show the world. I’ll lock myself in my new study and write and draw and become enlightened. That’ll show ’em all. SHOW ‘EM ALL!

But enough about me. Let’s talk about stuff I’m doing! Brilliant idea! I’m still working on The Moment of Silence. It is getting longer, but that’s fine, you can’t rush these things. It was the same with The Peace of Elias, it took me ages. I’m not a fast worker. I like to mull things over, there’s no sense in rushing these things. I don’t like rushing, it angrys up the blood, and I have estate agents to do that for me. All in good time.

We (David Pilling and I) have finished the second edits on Sorrow Part 4: The Gelded Wolf, the next part in our epic fantasy series which is coming on 21 December from Musa Publishing. Sorrow Part 3: The House of Unkindness is available now so check it out if you haven’t already!

Enough! I am away to drink tea and swear at my limbs. I mean there’s epic fantasy afoot! (Rides into sunset on a massive lurcher)

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Sorrow Part 3: The House of Unkindness

SILENCE!

I have a few things to get off my chest, so be quiet while I rant. No talking during the rant.

I have smashed my laptop. Smashed it good. The other people in the room were a bit shocked by the sudden switch from mild-mannered, whimsical drunk to a vile storm of unbridled rage but on reflection not really surprised as they know what a beast I am.

Why are laptops such bastards? I’ve had a desktop PC for years and it has never gone wrong, it works like a dream every day, always doing exactly what I tell it without any stupid questions or pausing for an hour two to mull it over. Not so with laptops, oh no, the fuckers. They just won’t cooperate. Performing updates for an hour and unable to perform any other tasks in the meantime? Bollocks. I’ve got a task for you: bounce off that wall and smash into a million pieces, that one I can perform manually, and fucking enjoyable it was too.

Laptops might be inanimate but don’t let that fool you, they’re having a great time while you grind your teeth and clench and unclench your sweaty fists, pressing control-alt-delete over and over again without any response. The last laptop I had was so enraging I had to give it to my little brother. He was present when the swirling red mist took hold, boiling my blood and sending me into a frenzied attack. The little bastard, I bet he was loving it, I beat him mercilessly as a child without a single thought for my own safety and this is the thanks I get.

I thought I might be sorry when I calmed down. Sorry that I smashed the thing I spent hundreds of pounds on in a fit of primeval fury. But I’m not. It was worth it. And what did I need it for anyway? So I could watch TV at the same time as writing? To feed the innate laziness that lies in every Cornishman? So I could lie on the couch and watch an episode of The Simpsons I’ve seen a thousand times instead of sitting at my desktop and applying myself? Not any-fucking-more. I’m a better person without that laptop: a new man!

So now I am sat at my desktop PC, away from the mind-numbing shit sandwich that is television with a spot of relaxing music (Aim featuring YZ if you must know – bad tune), channelling my aggression in a decent rant. Windows 7? Stuff it right up your pooper, all the way up there, I’m an Ubuntu desktop man till I die now, mention a laptop to me once and I will steel a bus, herd your family onto it at gunpoint and drive it through your mum’s house.

Now that you are sufficiently enlightened, here’s a brief synopsis and excerpt from the latest in our epic fantasy series, Sorrow Part 3: The House of Unkindness, available now from Musa Publishing.

“Rumour spreads. Agents are dispatched. The race for Sorrow begins.”

An uneasy peace has descended over the World Apparent. The Winter Realm and the Old Kingdom are recovering from the cataclysmic events of the Twelfth Reconquest, while in the south, the Djanki and the Sharib retreat to lick their wounds from the battle at Temple Rock. To the east, the divided Empire of Temeria is nearing the end of a long civil war, in which rival Generals have fought like mad dogs to seize the long-vacant Imperial Throne.

Bail and Sorrow wander in the wilderness, watched by the ghosts of a million dead soldiers.

Three Knights of the Temple leave Silverback on a seemingly impossible quest.

Meanwhile, Colken has an appointment with the Raven Queen, and The House of Unkindness proves to be more disturbing than he could possibly have imagined.

Excerpt
“What have you done to me?” he demanded hoarsely.

“I have done nothing, have I, Erlo?”

Erlo slowly shook his spotless head.

“No, I’m no surgeon, no witch! I ply a simpler trade.”

Wade stepped forward and reached toward Colken’s chest.

“No, Erlo, this is the work of an altogether more subtle mind.” Wade’s sickly pale face gazed in wonder as he knocked on the left side of Colken’s bandaged chest producing, to the surprise of its owner, a metallic thud.

“A subtle mind, Erlo, a subtle mind with access to the dark arts.”

Colken would normally have dismissed the captain’s chattering as nonsense, but some feeling inside him told him Wade spoke the truth.

“Strong bonds are required for a ferocious animal, Erlo. What we have here is no ordinary man, but a fierce beast from the jungle. A killer! Not in the way our deceased friend Silt was a killer, oh no, this beast does not kill out of malice or greed. No Erlo, such emotions are trivial in the jungle. He is a primeval specimen of power itself. He kills to survive!”

Wade’s speech grew impassioned and his reedy, effeminate voice took on a theatrical note as he examined Colken intently, as though he had discovered some lost, half-mythical treasure. Colken listened, searching for any word of sense that might give him some clue as to where he was and why.

“When such a beast leaves his dank, primitive shadow-world he becomes dangerous, Erlo, a cat amongst the pigeons, hmmm? The beast recognises no human law, and so powerful bonds are necessary. Unbreakable bonds. For the bird, Erlo, has caught the cat.”

With a flourish, Wade stood back and waved a bejewelled hand as two hulking orderlies sidled through the doorway and gripped Colken. Taking a shoulder each and grunting with the effort, they hauled him painfully upright.

Colken’s head swam as he was marched out of the operating room and down the corridor, followed by Wade and Erlo. He drifted in a semi-conscious state, blood loss and hunger sapping all his strength, oblivious to the clank of his chains and the grunts of the orderlies as they strained to bear his weight. He was oblivious, too, to the inane chatter of the eccentric captain as he and Erlo followed in the rear.

He passed back into unconsciousness.

The Robins are Watching

The Robins are Watching

Me and the bears and the robins.

I am pleased to say that my girlfriend and I are moving out of our tiny one bed flat and into a nice three bed semi. Unfortunately that means that I had to attack the tropical jungle which has taken over my garden, armed only with a fork and a bad temper. This is dangerous situation, because I am being watched by bears.

The bears watch from over the fence, they taunt me while I dig, curse them. Every time I turn around they hide, but I can hear them sniggering. They follow me to work every day. They wear disguises but I know who they are. I mean, putting a fedora and a pair of shades on a bear doesn’t make it any less conspicuous.

Then there are the phone calls and the hate mail. My girlfriend tells me that they’re “bills” but I know that they’re letters from the bears designed to enrage me. Damn them! Damn them to hell!

So I’m digging the garden and swearing at robins. I know what’s going on behind their black, beady little eyes. Their twitchy little heads flicking back and forth, people think its cute, but I know what’s really going on. They’re plotting,waiting for the right opportunity, then as soon as I drop my guard, BAM! They’ll be in the pantry buggering about with my miscellanea. MY PRECIOUS MISCELLANEA! CURSE THEM! CURSE THE ROBINS!

The government have ignored my letters about the bears and the robins and the man in my fridge who keeps sprinkling dandruff in my ketchup, but I’ll show them. I’ll move to the country and put bullet-proof vests on all the fucking badgers.

To top it all off I have a blister. Damn it! Damn my thirty three years faking illness to avoid manual work! Now I can’t use a knife and fork without my delicate skin shredding itself to ribbons.

Crap on a stick, I’m made of bloody cigarette papers! Why must fate mock me so?

Anyway, the good news is I will have a study in my new house where I can sit and work on my fantasy fiction and my journalism and the bears won’t be able to see in because I’ll have my amazing talking curtains drawn. As for my miscellanea, well, that will be smothered in robin-proof sasquatch droppings and guarded by angry bees.