Ten Years On …

November 30th, 2016 • Posted in Random Stuff |

Ten years ago last May my mother passed away. Sometimes it feel like just ten days. Three months following her death, I decided to quit work and try to make a living writing full-time. Mum was always very encouraging and a great supporter of my writing, and she’d instilled a love of reading in me from a young age. I’ve mentioned before how she gave me The Rats to read when I was ten years old. And how it didn’t do me any harm. Honest.

I think about Mum every day.

Ten year later I’m still here. Tomorrow, 1st December, is the tenth anniversary of my first day as a professional writer, making a living purely out of making stuff up, writing it down, and selling it.

I remember calling my Dad from work sometime that September and saying, “I’m giving up work to write.” I’d been worried about making that call––Dad is in his eighties now, and I thought he’d berate me for giving up a steady job and income. But his first reaction was, “Your Mum would be chuffed.” That was when I knew it was the right decision.

It was a leap into the unknown. Although I had some money saved, and knew there were a couple of book deals incoming, for the very first time in my adult life I didn’t have a monthly pay cheque. That came as something of a shock, but it was also extremely liberating.

I have never once regretted the decision––not even slightly––and when it comes to writing, the past ten years now feels like most of my adult life. Sometimes I still miss working with other people, but I’m also comfortable in my own company, and with various collaborative projects, the wonders of Skype and the World Wide Web (read in Uncle Bryn voice), and occasional lunches with friends, I’ve never found writing to be a lonely business.

So after these past ten years, and over twenty novels (a few in collaboration), a couple of collections, a few novellas, dozens of short stories, a few screenplays, a handful of movie options, and one Hollywood film, where am I? It strikes me that lots has changed, and yet quite a lot hasn’t. I’m still sitting at the same desk in the same position in the same room … although now that room is also home to a couple of bikes and a load of sport kit that would have left the Tim of ten years ago bemused (and probably my Mum too … I often imagine what she’d say when I’m out on my bike: “You be careful, it’s not you, it’s the other idiots out there!”) . I’m still writing horror … but I’ve also edged into thriller territory, and I’m writing another fantasy novel with my long-time collaborator and American brother Chris Golden.

And, of course, I’m still forever in that ‘waiting for news’ limbo that writers spend most of their time haunting, striding up and down, worrying, stressing, wondering just when the news they’re hoping for will come in and knowing very well that it won’t be quite as soon as they’d wish.

… waiting, stressing, striding …

So what have I learned? Writing is a twenty-four hours a day job. It’s hard work, demanding, exhausting, frustrating, your ego is massaged sometimes, but more often takes major hits that leave it low and in hiding. Only a small proportion of writers make it ‘big’, and most of us write to live as much as live to write. Book deals come and book deals go. And some people don’t view writing as a job at all. I still get plenty of ‘will you write us a short story and we’ll pay you with exposure’ requests (try that next time you’re having your car serviced: ‘Sorry, mate, I can’t pay you, but I’ll tell all my mates you do a cracking oil change’).

I’ve also learned that writers in my chosen genres are among the nicest people on the planet. It’s inevitable that whatever direction your life takes will present you with new opportunities to make great friends, and that’s been very true of my career. I’m never without a constantly fluctuating level of money-concern, but when it comes to friends I am rich indeed.

If you’ve been buying my books over the past ten years, thank you. You keeping buying them, I’ll keep writing them. I once commented to a writing friend how lucky we were doing what we do for a living, and he berated me, and said that we work bloody hard, we take hits, there’s no guaranteed income, we sometimes live on a knife-edge, and in some regards there’s an ongoing process of reinvention required to navigate our muses through the minefields of professional writing. He was right, of course. But I still feel privileged to do what I do.

I hope it continues for another ten, twenty, thirty years. I’ve got enough ideas, for sure. My muse feels younger than my 47 years. Inside, I’m still a kid huddled in my bed between waking and sleeping, staring at the darkness between the partly-drawn curtains, and wondering, What if…?

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Outdoor Fitness

November 25th, 2016 • Posted in Random Stuff |

There’s a familiar face in Outdoor Fitness magazine this month!  It’s a real thrill as it’s one of my favourite magazines.  A great piece, too.  If you enjoy the outdoors at all, I’d recommend this magazine.

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RELICS – cover reveal and extract

October 27th, 2016 • Posted in Book News |

relics_sales_cvrMy new novel RELICS is due out next March in the UK and US from Titan.  It’s the first in a trilogy, and yesterday there was a cover reveal with an exclusive extract on Barnes & Noble’s website.  You can check it out here.

I’m really excited about this novel.  I’ve been working on it for some time, and it’s something a little different from me, merging my love of horror, fantasy, and thriller into one story.  So if you loved The Silence, Fallen, and The Hunt, you’ll definitely like this.

I’ll write more about the Relics Trilogy soon (when I’ve finished writing book 2!), but for now, feast your eyes on this lovely cover, and the equally lovely blurb from the one and only James Rollins.  Nice!

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Race planning for 2017…

October 26th, 2016 • Posted in Random Stuff |

Those who know me — or those who read this blog, or follow me when I’m on Fb and Twitter — will know that I have a more than passing love of triathlon.  In fact, it’s become a big thing in my life, and my love of swim/bike/run/eat is growing.  This year I raced Ironman Wales (you can scroll down and read my race report), and I decided to not do a full iron distance next year.

Instead, I’m doing a half distance race called the Brutal. It’s got that name for a reason.

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Honestly, I think it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  The swim is a chilly dip in Lake Padarn in Snowdonia, the bike is two laps around Snowdon’s footprint (almost 60 miles involving over 5,000 feet of climb), and then the run is one lap of the lake and then … an ascent and descent of Snowdon!

Yep.  I’ve certainly let myself in for it this time!

As well as that, I’m racing a flat half-ironman in June (the wonderful Cotswolds 113), and I’m also in for the Velothon in July.  And there’ll be other races too, I’m sure, but for now these are the three booked in.

Can’t wait!

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Researching, reading, and real life

October 20th, 2016 • Posted in Random Stuff |

Facebook?  Twitter?  I hardly remember them.  #OfflineOctober has been wonderful, and I’m still not missing the whole social media thing.  So much so that I really have to consider to what extent I’ll go back on after October. Right now I’d be happy to dump it altogether, but I know as a professional writer it’s probably advisable to have some presence.

Perhaps I’ll develop and update this website and start a decent mailing list.  That could be the way to go. Thoughts?

Now that I’m not reaching for Facebook every ten minutes to see just HOW MANY people have like that incisive and witty comment I just posted, I’m finding I have a lot more time for working, writing, and living.  I’ve just finished reading the excellent The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood, you should do yourselves a favour and pick that one up.  I’m also enjoying Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood, and I’m reading quite a bit of research material for a novel proposal I’m working on set on the England/Welsh borders around 1070.

And, yeah, real life.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  But away from the computer screen, it’s great to be living it properly again.

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Year’s Best Weird Fiction vol 3

October 11th, 2016 • Posted in Book News |

I’m very proud to appear in this handsome new volume from Undertow Books, edited by Simon Strantzas and Michael Kelly.  You should all go out and buy it, of course.  Available in hardback, paperback and ebook.

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#OfflineOctober Week Two

October 11th, 2016 • Posted in News |

Into my second week of no social media and … I’m not missing Facebook or Twitter at all.  I’m getting more work done — so far this month a short story written and accepted, a chapter on the new collaborative novel with Christopher Golden written, another chapter edited, and work on a new novel proposal moving forward really well!

Also, it’s been strange to realise how connected I was, even when I wasn’t actually online. When I walk the dog in our local woods, I’ll often reach for my phone to take a picture, thinking ‘Must post this when I get home’.  Now I still take those pictures but don’t post them.  I read news items and watch clips on YouTube without sharing them.  I watch new music videos without sharing them, too.  I know the concept of sharing is good, but sometimes it’s better to do stuff like this just for yourself.

I’m reading more, too.  Almost finished The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood, and it’s a brilliant novel.

So … #OfflineOctober might well extend to being #OfflineMidweek once this month is up, when I’m thinking of logging into FB and Twitter just for the weekend.  If at all.

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The end has arrived…

October 8th, 2016 • Posted in News |

armageddonThe end of the Rage War trilogy is upon us.  Alien Vs Predator: Armageddon was released last week.  If you don’t yet have a copy you can find details on the book page here.

The Rage launch the ultimate assault on the Human Sphere. Their greatest weapons are the most fearsome creatures in the galaxy the Xenomorphs.
Having fled centuries before, the Rage return to take revenge and claim the planet for their own. Now, through a deal struck with the unlikeliest of allies, the human race may rely on the Predators to ensure mankind s ultimate freedom. Yet even the combined might of the two races may not be enough. The fate of the Earth may rest with a single android, Liliya of the Rage.

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Life back…

October 6th, 2016 • Posted in Random Stuff |

…that’s what it feels like, anyway.  #OfflineOctober is going well — I haven’t felt the temptation to log into Facebook or Twitter, I’m reading more, writing more, and avoiding hearing about what strangers are eating for tea or what Donald Trump said next.  It’s fantastic.  I’d recommend it!

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#OfflineOctober

October 3rd, 2016 • Posted in Random Stuff |

I’m joining my friends Sarah Pinborough, James Barclay, Brian Keene and others in deactivating Facebook and Twitter for the month of October.  It’s a bit like Dry January, I guess … you do it because you know it’s good for your body and mind, and also because you just want to make sure you can do it.  Three days in and I’m not missing either social media platform at all, I’m reading more, writing more, and generally enjoying not being attached to my phone or keyboard.  It feels good.  I’d recommend it.

If you need to contact me, my email’s on the Contact page of this site.  Now it’s back to work!

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