Journal

  • Rock Zombie (or One Night in Redcar with the Dead)

    This is the story that happens when you think sod it, let’s write the daftest thing we can think of and tie it in to all our teenage memories. Rock Zombie is a novel about a young lad drinking at the Beach Park on Redcar seafront… he dies… he comes back as a ghost… but his body also reanimates as a zombie. The spirit of Robbie Neville then spends the rest of the night trying to stop his body from eating everyone and causing a zombie outbreak in the streets, pubs and clubs of the author’s hometown. Cast your mind back to your first real night out (in the 90s no less) – only instead of navigating the social labyrinth of short skirts, Kickers shoes and tracksuit-clad scallies, you’re dealing with an unstoppable wave of the walking dead.

    Okay, I guess they are kind of the same thing.

    The mock-up Rock Zombie cover… which probably isn’t the cover… because I just made it myself on my PC.

    Rock Zombie was probably the most fun I have had writing a book. Many of my stories are littered with subtle (and not so subtle) references to pop culture and music but this one wears them all on its ragged, teeth-marked sleeve. In fact, there are so many references I had to do a number of edits because it simply wasn’t possible to get copyright permission to use all the song lyrics. Each chapter of Rock Zombie is the title of a classic tune from the 90s (here’s the playlist). Robbie Neville is, after all, a wannabe rock star who models his look on those of a certain well-known grunge icon. In fact, when we meet him, he is riding the wave of his new-found, small-town celebrity status after appearing on ITV’s Stars in Their Eyes.

    Tonight, Matthew. I’m going to be… Kurt Cobain!

    For those of you who aren’t British or have no memory of the 90s, Stars in Their Eyes was like the pre-cursor to Britain’s Got Talent, Ex-Factor and The Voice. It was basically a karaoke dress-up show where people splashed on a bit of make-up, revealed themselves via a smoky stage, and sang one song… before returning to their lives never to be seen again.

    But it’s amazing what a person can get away with when they’ve been on TV… even in the 90s… even if they’re now a zombie.

    So, yeah. This daft little book found a publisher and is due for release pretty soon. I figured I’d write this short post as an introduction because the honest truth is, I don’t really know what is happening. I received an email before Christmas saying the date was set for the end of January but as I haven’t read anything, seen anything, or signed anything I’m not entirely sure what is going on. In my short experience though I can say that the publishing world is full of these little foibles and so I’m just going to wait and see. Hell, if it doesn’t happen I’ll try again and if it still doesn’t happen there’s always the Reindeer Games route of self-publishing. But with only a few weeks to go I figured I should at least try something in the way of advertising.

    So watch this space… there’s rock zombies in it!

    (maybe)


  • I will eviscerate you in fiction!

    Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity. Geoffrey Chaucer (sort of) One of the fun things about writing a book you think pretty much no one will read is putting all your friends and family in there and ending their lives in new and imaginative ways. … Continue reading I will eviscerate you in fiction!

  • Zombies, ghosts and nunchucks. What shenaniganary is this?!

    Yes, that’s a word (maybe) A short post here, ladies and gents… I wrote a daft zombie story set in the 90s. A kid dies and comes back as a ghost while his body reanimates as a zombie. He then spends the night trying to summon his inner Patrick Swayze in order to stop the … Continue reading Zombies, ghosts and nunchucks. What shenaniganary is this?!

  • Ask me anything… (sort of)

    Well, ladies and gents, I’ve managed to get this website up and running and I’ve made sure all the links work (and go precisely where they’re meant to). So far, it’s all tip-top and shiny. So, I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of new links I added just now. These two… That’s … Continue reading Ask me anything… (sort of)

  • A spanking new website!

    Things are happening, folks! First of all, the countdown to the book release is on. At the time of writing, there are 149 days left! I also had an exceptionally cool meeting with my amazing editor yesterday but I can’t really dish the goss on that one yet other than to say she is a … Continue reading A spanking new website!

  • Judge a book by its cover!

    It has no doubt become abundantly clear to anyone who saved this website (and there are a few of you – sorry) that I’m absolutely rubbish at keeping it updated. Well, here’s one for you… The Book and the Blade has a cover! Remember, beautiful people… sharing is caring

  • That was some year! (written in June 2021)

    It has been just over a year since I woke up one morning to an email from some lovely people in The States who told me they wanted to publish my little book. A year! 2020. Nothing much happened there, right? Just an ordinary, boring, humdrum kind of year. So I thought I’d let you … Continue reading That was some year! (written in June 2021)

  • It’s easy to get a publisher, right?

    It turns out I keep this online diary almost as consistently as I keep my personal diary, i.e. hardly ever. This is quite normal for me. I seem to work in flurries of madness separated by long periods of nothing. Well, I say nothing, but the old noggin is always ticking over. It’s like a … Continue reading It’s easy to get a publisher, right?

  • Before The Book and the Blade

    I wrote six books before I started work on The Book and the Blade. They were not great. One, two and three were terrible in fact. Four showed some small promise but floundered (drowned) in the middle. Five was a present for my kids that I’m still happy with, and six was a silly thing … Continue reading Before The Book and the Blade

  • Where have you been?

    Years ago I ploughed my way through Frank McCourt’s books because one of my students was reading Angela’s Ashes and raving about it in class, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I read the same book, loved it, and decided to read everything else he had written as well. Somewhere … Continue reading Where have you been?