What a week!

This is the week it finally happened, folks… I became a ‘writer’. Oh, sure, I’ve been writing like an addict for years, and I’ve been telling stories since before I could read them (just ask my mam), but on the 28th February my debut novel was released into the wild. For me, that is a dream come true.

To be clear, I don’t simply define a writer as someone who has been published, but in my own worldview, I could never really consider myself achieving that lofty and ambitious title until it happened the old fashioned way. And on Tuesday, it did. The Book and the Blade is out now, ladies and gents, published by the wonderful people at Parliament House Press.

It's real! You can buy it, you can touch it, and if you feel that way inclined, you can even read it!

It has been a surreal week, so I thought I’d give you a bit of a run-through of events so far. Here’s a list:

1) Woke up Tuesday to a message from a lady in Canada who was feeling unwell, so she stayed off work and read half the novel before lunch. She was loving it. I was buzzing before I even got out of bed.

2) I went to work with a copy of the book in my bag and showed my mates like a proud dad.

3) Throughout the day, Instagram and Twitter went a bit nuts with the MTMC book tour under the hashtag #TheBookandTheBladeMTMC. This has been going on all week and it has been so cool to read people’s thoughts and first impressions.

4) An interview with my hometown newspaper was published. It was great. I chatted to the lovely lady via Zoom on Sunday, but for some unknown reason, reading it bummed me out. I don’t know why. Peaks and troughs, I guess. I felt like a fraud.

5) I drank some English ales as the sun set and a box of books arrived at the house. I talked to libraries about adding my book to their list.

6) The lovely Canadian lady finished it, said she loved it, and is waiting for the sequel.

7) Congratuwelldones from all over the place! Photos from friends and strangers holding the book (or screenshots of Amazon saying there’s a delay in delivery 🤣).

8) An interview published by my University Alumni – LOVED this.

9) The book bizarrely ended up on a list alongside my idol, Sir Terry Pratchett and I momentarily lost my damn mind!

10) My mam sent me a photo of me in the local paper.

11) My amazing wife has gone above a beyond organising a book launch this Saturday at one of my favourite bars… Netherworld in Brisbane.

12) And today, as I started writing this, I received an email rejection for another novel. What a bookend to the week!

I must really be a writer now!


I feel like I’ve missed a trick with The Book and the Blade. It would seem that I did not get the memo regarding the standard structure of novel titles in the contemporary market. Absolutely everything seems to be some combination of A____ of_____ and _______ , and with less than ten days to go it is probably a wee bit late to change things.

A Book of Shadow and Blades?

A City of Drunks and Deceased?

A Blade of Sharp and Pointy?

A Man of Inebriated Regret?

A Midnight Panini of Cajun Chicken and Cheese? (Now THAT’S an in-joke I squeezed into the book for a small number of people!)

Well, folks, regardless of marketing reservations it is officially too late to do anything about it now. The Book and the Blade will be released to the world on February 28th of this year… just 9 short days away at the time of my writing this! To say I’m a tad excited would be like saying Trump was a little bit controversial, but it is an excitement heavily tempered by a creeping pessimism. Imposter syndrome really is a kick in the tits. If it wasn’t for my best friend and amazing wife (same person…also my biggest critic…in a good way!) I would have already closed the door so to speak. It is a really odd thing to write a book…to put everything out there, to create something new you hope people love, and then to tie yourself in knots at the thought of people actually reading the damn thing! With that in mind, it is perhaps no surprise I have let things get this close to release day without doing a damn thing about it.

Kel has different ideas.

Last night, while we waited for our daughter on her first official date no less (where did that time go?!) I officially gave in to my wife’s polite suggestions for a launch party…so now things are going to happen. It’ll be in Brisbane…somewhere. The Saturday after the release date…sometime. And I promise I’ll turn up…maybe.

All jokes aside, it has been an amazing (and stressful) few weeks…writing, editing, doing interviews, checking final proofs, panicking, hyperventilating, drinking…and, of course, unboxing my debut novel!

I hope that if you buy it, you enjoy it, or at the very least, don’t hate it so much you start a campaign against the author that goes viral and he never works in this town again and gets sacked from his day job for bringing the English language into disrepute and is then bundled out of Australia by immigration because they just can’t tolerate such amateurish shite on these sun-drenched shores and then his wife leaves him for being such a failure and his kids change their names to completely disassociate and he ends up selling moody-gold from the back of a car on a racecourse market where he rummages through the discarded betting slips for that one small glimmer of hope (or because he can’t afford toilet paper and needs must) and then he wanders off into the mountains only to be found in a bush hugging a tattered copy of the Beano that reminds him of his shattered hopes and dreams.

Something like that anyway.

Cheers folks!


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!


I have news!

What a crazy end to the year it has been! My first novel, THE BOOK AND THE BLADE, was originally slated for release in September of this year but of course that didn’t happen for a myriad of reasons. The new publication date is the 28th February, 2023, which bizarrely means my “debut” novel will in fact be my third!

That’s right, due to the self-publication of my ridiculous christmas horror novel – REINDEER GAMES – and the news I just received that ROCK ZOMBIE will be published at the end of January 2023, it turns out I’ll have three books out in the wild before I turn 41!

I know what you’re thinking, Oh bugger! That’s too much Al in such a short space of time! Well, now you know how my poor wife and kids feel! 🤣

In all honesty though, I’m chuffed to bits. I never thought Reindeer Games would get much traction (and by big boy standards, it hasn’t) but I was really stoked when it sold over 100 copies. Right now, that number is slowly creeping towards 150. So, thank you to everyone who downloaded and read it!

Link opens Amazon

The Book and the Blade is the story I’ve had in my head for over 20 years and I can’t wait for you to read it. The basic premise is a guy gets drunk and sees ghosts but he’s so drunk he doesn’t know they’re ghosts. There’s obviously a lot more to it but that’s the start 🤣 It is being published by the wonderful people at Parliament House Press in the US and is part of a four book series.

Link opens Amazon

And Rock Zombie is a story about a young man who dies and comes back as a ghost AND a zombie. That’s right, his body reanimates and his ghost has to follow it around trying to stop it from eating people. This one has a killer soundtrack as it’s set in the 90s. In fact, each chapter is the title of a famous song from the time. Here’s the playlist…

Opens in Spotify

There is a mock-up book cover but the real deal has yet to be finalised. Rock Zombie is being published in the UK by Britain’s Next Bestseller who are based in my hometown of Redcar where the story is set, which is wonderfully serendipitous. I’m kind of hoping there’ll be time to arrange a book cover design by the amazing Hello Moon Creative, who is a tattoo artist from Redcar. Keeping it local! (But available everywhere!)

No link 😂

So that’s it, exciting times ahead but of course the year is not over yet. There are a couple of days left where REINDEER GAMES is still available to download for free! That offer runs out at 7pm on Christmas Day if you’re in the AEST zone… 8am Christmas Day in GMT… and 1159pm on Christmas Eve for PST. The link above will take you to the right page (I hope).

Thanks everyone for reading this and reading my silly bollocks. It’s really fun to write such nonsense and send it out into the world. Thank you all and Merry Christmas!

Reindeer Games is published!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I cocked up big time and my little novella was released into the wild well before I realised what was going on, but here we are… a published novella. Albeit, a published novella about Santa’s reindeer getting murdered but still, I did a thing! Here it is…

I had to put it online for the extortionate sum of $1 but from the 20th to the 24th December it will be free! It’s actually free now for Kindle Unlimited people so go hard, give it a shot, give it away, buy it as a present (they don’t have to know it didn’t cost you anything!) do what you like. Although, if you do read it, please be kind and give it a little review, and remember, one 5 star review is quicker than five 1 star reviews!

Thanks folks,


Almost there…

For anyone keeping track, Reindeer Games has just been uploaded for publication on Amazon. This is where we currently stand…

I’ve added it for the lowest price I can across all markets but I’ve also enrolled the silly bloody thing in Kindle Select, which means it is exclusive to Amazon. More importantly, this means I can flog it off for free for 5 days.

So, all being well, Reindeer Games will be ready for public consumption on about the 20th December and will be free until Christmas Day.

I’m not going to lie, I have not taken this entirely seriously (Shocking! Says everyone who knows me) I wrote the damn thing in 3 days and edited in a week or so with the help of some legends… Bri, Erica, Amy and Kel. Look for your names in the acknowledgements section at the back of the book ladies 🤣

I also played fast and loose with the wording on the copyright page (I mean, it wanted me to say that all characters are fictitious, but it’s a story about Santa! I just couldn’t do it).

If you’re still undecided about this crap or this is the first you’ve heard of it, here is the opener…

Absolute nonsense, I know.

But hey, if you’re stuck for a present idea for someone, it is free… they don’t have to know that!

In all honesty, if you do read my silly little rambling, please take a moment to pop a rating or review on Amazon. It’ll really help in February when my real book is published. And hey, here’s a time-saving tip for you… instead of giving me 5 one-star reviews, just combine them into 1 five-star review. I’ll know what you mean!