Dreaming in Fire…

March 3rd, 2014 • Posted in Book News, News |

…working in clay.  It’s from one of my favourite quotes by Arthur Machen, “I dream in fire but work in clay.”  For me that sums up the creative process perfectly.  The whole idea used to depress me — that my idea for a story is never done justice by the story I eventually write.  But after doing this for a while now, I’ve come to learn that there’s really no such thing as perfection.  A piece of fiction is never actually finished, it’s just put to one side, published (if I’m lucky), and then I move on to something else.

There’s something quite comforting in that, actually, because it means I always strive to make my next piece of writing better than the last.  That’s probably why I don’t find writing particularly easy, and while I usually enjoy it, it’s challenging and demanding.

So … that’s why I’ve called my new ebook publishing venture DREAMING IN FIRE PRESS.  Just because I like the quote.  And I can.

Now then, I’m not the most tech-savvy bloke around.  I have an iphone, yes, and I use it mainly for … well, phoning people. I text with it and check my emails, too, but that’s about it.  I haven’t so much dived into the sea of apps available as dipped my toe in.  In fact, the very tip of my toe (bloody Flappy Birds!).  I also work on a Mac, but it’s not attached/tuned into/magicked into the whole icloud thingy.  And I don’t even want to talk about the Windows laptop we bought our daughter for Christmas…

So the whole idea of ebooks has troubled me for some time.  I’d think, Well, yeah, I really should.  And I will.  One day.  But it scared me.  It took some time to take the plunge, and I’d like to think Robert Swartwood for all his help and advice (and also his splendid book designs), Graeme Reynolds for advice and support, and also Kealan Patrick Burke of ElderLemon Design for his great covers.

I’ve come to realise that I have a LOT of stuff hanging around on my hard disc that really should be out there for readers to — hopefully — snap up.  Novellas, several novels, short stories… For now it’s all work that’s been published before in one form or another (although there will be some rarities coming out soon), but depending on reaction to these first ebooks I’m putting out, that might change.  There’s at least one novelette series I’d very much like to continue (anyone guess what it is?), and other ideas that might suit the whole ebook platform very well.

So I hope you’ll enjoy this first round of ebooks.  It starts with WHITE because … well, I can’t think of a better place to begin.  It won the British Fantasy Award, was optioned for movie (still alive!), was selected for the two major Year’s Best anthologies as well as the Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror, and it’s one of those stories that people still want to talk to me about, even thirteen years after it was first published.

Hope you’ll pick it up.  It’s March, and there’s still time for snow.



Kindle Aliens and a starred review

February 6th, 2014 • Posted in News |

Alien:Out of the Shadows is now available on the Kindle in the UK.  Head over here to buy it or visit the book page here for other buying links, reviews and an extract.

Meanwhile Coldbrook is due out in the US in early April, and Publishers Weekly have a starred review of it here.


New Year roundup

December 8th, 2013 • Posted in Book News, News |

As a new year rapidly approaches here are some of the things to look out for.

January – At the start of the month Dark Duets is released featuring a short story collaboration between Tim and Michael Marshall Smith, then at the end of the month Alien: Out of the Shadows is released.

April – Coldbrook finally has a US release (with a new cover), and Star Wars: Into the Void comes out in Paperback.

Also during the first part of the year “Dreaming in Fire” press will launch.  This will be for ebooks and will start with a series of Novella releases.  More details on this to follow.



Auction for the Philippines

November 17th, 2013 • Posted in News |

If you would like the chance to get a full signed and personalised set of the Toxic City Trilogy novels, whilst helping out a good cause, head over here.

The auction is open until 8pm GMT on Wednesday 20th November, and there are plenty of other items available to bid on as well. full index is here.


STILL LIFE – pre-order

September 11th, 2013 • Posted in Book News, News |

My brand new novella STILL LIFE is up for pre-order now from Spectral Press, limited to 125 signed hardcover copies.  It’s being launched at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton this November, but pre-orders are being taken now.  Cover art by the amazing Jim Burns will be revealed soon!

Writer and broadcaster Muriel Gray says:

“Tim Lebbon conjures up the horror of a world distorted by fear, distrust, and something unspeakable. With respectful nods to H.P Lovecraft Still Life rubs reality up against nightmares in this compact, engrossing treat.”

It’s my first novella for some time, and I’m delighted with how it turned out.  Surreal, horrific, dreamlike … nightmarish … I think it’s one of my best.

Here’s the blurb:

Jenni’s husband was part of the Road of Souls––his flesh swarmed by ants and pecked by rooks, bones crushed to powder by wheels of dread––and yet she still saw him in the pool.

            The incursion has been and gone, the war is over, and the enemy is in the land, remote and ambiguous.  The village outskirts are guarded by vicious beasts, making escape impossible.  The village itself is controlled by the Finks, human servants to the enemy––brutal, callous, almost untouchable. 

            Everything is less than it was before… time seems to move slower, the population is much denuded, and life itself seems to hold little purpose.  This is not living, it’s existing.

            But in a subjugated population, there is always resistance. 

            For Jenni, the happiest part of this new life is visiting the pool in the woods, seeing her dead husband within, and sharing memories of happier times.  It calms her and makes her feel alive.

            But the resistance comes to her for help. 

            And when her dead husband tells her it is time to fight, Jenni’s life is destined for a shattering change.  


Into the Void – 50 page excerpt

May 6th, 2013 • Posted in Extracts, News |


For everyone waiting for tomorrow, or the postman, or payday, here is a 50 page excerpt of Into the Void, courtesy of Star Wars books.  It may only be available until this coming Friday, so be quick, or read fast.

You can find the excerpt here


The Next Big Thing — Tag, I’m it!

October 31st, 2012 • Posted in News |
Last week the very excellent Mark Morris tagged me in his ‘The Next Big Thing’ blog post thingy.  It’s an ongoing process where one writer answers a series of questions (see below!), and then tags 5 others writers (see below the below!) who get to do it all again the following week.  By Christmas every blog would have been read by at least five billion people, we’ll all be outselling 50 Shades of Gray, and I’ll have my order in for that subterranean swimming complex/evil guy’s lair I’ve had my eye on.
Or something.
Anyway, in a moment of rash enthusiasm I agreed to do it.  Also, because Mark is like a brother to me.  A much older brother.  Albeit one who looks young and more dashing the older he gets, damn him.  And in turn, after these questions and answers (which, hands up I’ll admit to tweaking somewhat), I’ll be tagging my own five victims writers.
1) What is the title of your latest book?
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s my Big Apocalyptic novel.  I’ve been wanting to write it for some time.  I enjoy destroying the world, and have done so many times in my novellas and short stories (by my last calculation I’d killed about 30 billion people in my fiction).  For COLDBROOK I wanted to take it one step further and not just destroy our world, but our worlds.  Notice the plural.  There’s a big science fictional element, and researching multiverse theory was fascinating, and mind-blowing.
That might all sound a bit glib, but it is a serious book, with what I hope are honest, believable characters, and some of the most exciting writing I think I’ve ever done.  Big scale and fast paced, it still concentrates on just a few main characters, and their efforts to make good some terrible, shattering mistakes…
And there are zombies.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s an apocalyptic zombie science fictional thriller with a love story, but no historical naval aspect.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Jonah Jones – John Hurt
Vic – Jamie Foxx
Holly – January Jones
Jayne – Jennifer Lawrence
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
They forge a pathway between this Earth and another … and something comes through.
6) Who published your book?
Hammer, an imprint of Arrow.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About 4 months.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well as it’s a big scale zombie novel, I like to think it has the realism and scare-factor of World War Z.  I thought this book was so well done, and so frightening.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As above … I wanted to write my definitive end of the world novel.  This is it.  However …. that’s not to say there won’t be another, and I already have a proposal for a new apocalyptic novel called The Silence.  Watch this space.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you like horror, zombies, action, science fiction, chase stories, love stories, heroics, bad guys, and Penderyn whiskey, you’ll love this novel.
And now … onward!  My five taggees are:


Happy Birthday to…

September 4th, 2012 • Posted in News |

… the very excellent TIM LOVE, who keeps my website all ship-shape and up to date.  Don’t tell him, but I’m buying him a few pints at Fantasycon.


Three Peaks Challenge – the full story

June 14th, 2011 • Posted in News, Random Stuff |

Five men, one minibus, 1200 miles by road, 21 miles to walk, 10,000 feet to climb, 3 mountains to conquer, 24 hours to do it in, and fifteen lbs of jelly babies … with stats like that, how could it not be epic?

A casual remark last January set it all in motion.  ’We should do the Three Peaks Challenge,’ I said to Pete.  ’And I know someone else who’d like to as well’.  Thus is was that myself, Pete, Dave, Russ, and Phil committed to conquering the tallest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales.  Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon were names that we would become very familiar with over the following months, presenting us with a challenge that, in truth, I never fully appreciated until on the day.

I trained hard, climbing local peaks such as the Blorenge, Sugarloaf, Skirrid, and Pen-y-Fan multiple times.  I started running more seriously, averaging fifteen miles per week and increasing my usual run from a couple of miles to five or six.  I started eating better, training hard, and spending money on proper kit.  Excited, I was also aware that on the day, the mountains could throw anything at us.  And I wasn’t wrong.

We drove to Stirling on Friday evening and stayed at Phil’s cousin’s house, a welcome change from our original plan — to arrive in Fort William at 2am and camp.  After a few hour’s sleep we headed for Fort William, stopping to fuel up on the way.  Note to roadside cafe: macaroni with onion and bacon usually contains bits of bacon.  After that we killed an hour in Fort William, where I was forced to try on The Hat.  Much prompting could not persuade me to buy it and wear it up the mountain, out of fear of being shot by the locals.

Then we geared up for Ben Nevis.  Arriving at the starting point, we realised just how many people would be climbing at the same time.  They were like lines of multi-coloured ants, snaking up the trail, zig-zagging across the mountain until they became depressingly small and disappeared altogether.  This was one high bastard.

In good spirits, we set off.  And though it is the highest of the three peaks by 1400 feet, I found this the easiest mountain to climb.  The trails were steep and hard, and slippery on the way down (we all took at least one tumble).  The smallish snow field was hard to climb, but fun to descend.  The drifting mist soaked us a little.  But … everything I’d heard had told me that this would be the hardest of the three peaks.  So when we arrived back at the mini-bus after four hours, 4400 feet, and 8 miles, I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

This was going to be a piece of cake.

Until we stripped to change by the roadside and were attacked by the infamous Scottish mozzies.  But that’s a horror story for another day.

First comedy mishap of the day occurred here (apart from Pete’s headlong fall into a wet ditch three minutes after setting off …!).  Tired and sweaty, I was preparing a For Goodness Shake (a recovery drink), when the bloody thing exploded all over me.  Banana-smelling gooey dust.  Nice.  I blame Pete.  Just because he was there.

It was 10pm by now, so we powered off into the night and stopped at a service station … somewhere.  Dave wore his Camping King crown and brought out the stove, and we brewed up and ate some rehydrated meals.

Scafell Pike was next … booted and suited we headed off, and though our ascent was 1400 feet less that Ben Nevis, I found this one really hard.  The path — formed from random rocks — was slippery and gritty.  And steep.  And once the paths ended and Scafell Pike’s craggy summit came into view, the going changed to heavy boulders and scree fields, with no defined path to follow.

But we forged on, and the last haul to the summit was a real drag.  It was great to get there, though, and the views were stunning.

A note here about the weather.   We were so, so lucky on Ben Nevis.  The skies were cloudy, but we only ever experience minor drizzle.  At one point we were actually above the clouds, and when we walked down through them we’d obviously been above a major downpour.  And on Scafell Pike, the weather was also kind to us (check out that photo of me at the trig point!)  It was pretty cold up there, and when you stop walking after a couple of hours and the wind hits your sweat-damped body … that’s chilling.  As for Snowdon… more on that in a minute.

As we climbed and descended Scafell Pike we were seeing lots of the same people we’d seen several hours and hundreds of miles away on Ben Nevis.  Nods became ‘hello’s, and though having so many people around us detracted a little from the ‘man against the elements’ bit of the adventure, most people were good-natured and always ready with an encouraging comment.  Apart from the big guy wearing a kid’s teddy bear hat.  ’Nice hat mate,’ from me should have met with a smile, at least.  Miserable git.  There was also a stag party doing the Three Peaks, the stag wearing full walking gear along with a tutu and a blond wig.  Hats off to him.

We changed by the side of the road (some people probably saw more than they would have liked, but I was tired and wet and didn’t care….), and heading off along the beautiful winding lanes, the constant energy gels we’d been popping began to take effect on our stomach, and Dave and I requested a pit-stop to let nature take its course.

And then, way out in the wild on top of a small hill by the side of the road, two portaloos!  What the hell were they doing there?  We didn’t know, but Pete skidded to a stop and said, ‘There you go.’  And there, indeed, we went.  And in a final stroke of fate, the doors didn’t lock, and as we held them open we had a beautiful, panoramic view of Scafell Pike.  What better way to thumb your nose at a mountain?

Time was ticking on.  We had to get to Snowdon quickly, so we hit a roadside burger van and had a breakfast roll each to fuel up for the final climb.  Snowdon is the easiest, I’d been told.  The paths are clear, and it’s a gentle slog until the last hard climb.  It’ll be fine.  Loads of people do it.  Snowdon is the easiest….


Snowdon was a hell-hole.  Or a hell-mountain.  We’d been spoiled with the weather, and now the rain had come in with a vengeance.  We suited up and prepared, all in high spirits, and determined to achieve our aim — ascend and descend three mountains in 24 hours.  Dave, Pete and I headed off, Russ and Phil electing to take an easier pace. Into the rain.  And as we started climbing, into the gale-force winds as well.

It was hard.  Pete, totally in the zone, pulled off ahead of us.  Dave and I climbed together, both developing painful knees that had us gritting our teeth against the discomfort.  The weather was horrible.  We were climbing waterfalls with frozen, numb hands.  We stopped for an energy bar which neither of us could open with our frozen fingers.  We were soaked from the outside with rain, and from the inside with sweat.  But we were determined, and never once did either of us suggest that we wouldn’t finish.  Dave asked for a gun so he could shoot himself.  I thought I probably wouldn’t have the strength to pull the trigger.

By the time we reached the top, the wind was staggeringly strong, blowing rain into our faces that felt like shotgun pellets.  My knee was knackered — I dragged myself the last couple of hundred feet, only climbing with my left leg, and by the time I reached Dave at the trig point I was shivering with the pain.  We shook hands … we’d done it!  In that awful weather, exhausted, wet, and cold, it was a sublime moment.  I honestly didn’t shed a tear.  It was just the rain.

Dave decided to try and head down quickly to achieve the 24 hour time (Pete had already passed us on his descent).  So he went, and I started down on my own.  This was my rough time.  I couldn’t see, because my glasses were soaked and there was nothing dry to wipe them with.  But I kept a good speed, and for a while even thought I might make it down in the time.

Then I overshot one of the paths we’d taken on the way up.  Only by 100 feet, and I could see the lakeside Miner’s Path I was aiming for down below.  I started down a slope, quickly realised it was the wrong way and probably dangerous, climbed back up again.  Backtracked, then found the path.  By now I’d passed exhaustion, and also passed the 24 hour limit.  I’d made the Snowdon summit within about 23 hours, so … that’s it for me.  I was also a little worried that the other chaps would have all made it back and might be concerned I wasn’t there.  If Prince William had to pick me up, I’d never live it down.

So after all that climbing, 32 hours without sleep, many miles walked, and the insane chaos of Snowdon, I ran the three miles back along the Miner’s Path leading to the lake.

There was a cafe.  It was warm.  And dry.  And I sat down with Dave, Pete, Russ, and Phil, and drank a pint of very sweet tea.  It was over.  We ate in Llanberis, then drove home.

The Three Peaks Challenge has ‘challenge’ in the title for a reason.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done, a true endurance event, but also one of the most enjoyable, and the most satisfying.  It was always a challenge first and foremost for myself, but I also raised money for a very worthy charity that’s close to my heart.  Today I still ache, and I’m still exhausted.  But I have the memory of a fine adventure undertaken with good friends, and the pleasure of knowing that we all did it.

What fun.

And wait til you see what comes next.

(You can still donate to St David’s Foundation as a sponsor of my Challenge … www.JustGiving.com/Tim–Lebbon).


Nice books and other news

June 4th, 2011 • Posted in Book News, News |

I’ve just returned from a week in Cornwall with my family to find two very nice books waiting for me.  Check out the pic.

ECHO CITY will be available very soon in the UK from Orbit.  ECHO CITY is a gorgeous book with one of the best covers I’ve ever had, and I’m really thrilled to be published by Orbit.  Read more about it here.  This feels like a new chapter in my career, and I hope you’ll pick it up and enjoy it.  Steven Erikson says:

“Brilliantly conceived and exquisitely well written.”

And the other book is the limited and deluxe editions of THE VERY BEST OF BEST NEW HORROR, from Earthling Publications.  Earthling always produce beautiful books, and this is no exception.  In the deluxe edition there is one page that includes the signatures of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and others.  How’s that for a lineup?  I’ve written before about how proud I am to see my novella White in this volume, and this puts icing on a very tasty cake.

I’ve had stories accepted recently in House of Fear from Solaris, and the cancer charity anthology, The Unspoken.  I’m working hard on a new novel, a screenplay, and am also awaiting some movie news which I hope to be able to share with you all soon.  Lots of exciting stuff happening — including a brand new Noreela novella — so please watch this space!