Friday, 21 February 2020

Extract Friday (3 of 3)

Three weeks in and 31,000 words written. The first draft is almost (but not quite) complete. As it's "Extract Friday", here's another chunk. This is the last extract I'll be posting. I have something else lined up for next week.


I was on the last push to get out of the office and pick up Freya from school. I cursed myself for leaving it so late but I was working on spreadsheets and was trying to cram in just a little more data entry. I had to pick up Freya at ten past three. It was five to, and the drive was ten minutes away. But then I remembered that I hadn't got the bloody food. I needed to find something not too nutritionally vacant. I ran onto the shop floor and over to the Italian ready meals aisle, panic-bought a lasagne for two, a bag of salad, and a garlic bread. I also got some apple juice and some ice-cream. My last stop was the toy aisle to pick up a Kyoot Spighdaz Blind Bag, a "collect them all" toy that comes in a foil wrapper meaning you don't know which one you'll get. I knew she loved them. After I paid for everything I retrieved the batteries which I had asked Amy on the tills to run through for me earlier.

I dropped the shopping onto the back seat of my car, next to Freya's car seat, which she would have to use until she was eleven (or one hundred and forty centimeters as the manual said, whichever came first). As she was only five I had a long time to wait. The sooner we got rid of that car seat the better. I drove as fast as I could through the busy afternoon town, which was only letting me do about ten miles per hour. Half the world appeared to be out running errands, or trying to get from one place to another. There seemed to be quite a few parents like me around, dashing across roads and hurrying back to big tank-like SUVs on the last push to get things done before the school run.

I couldn't risk being late. Fifteen minutes or so after the designated pick up time, the school starts making phone calls, and inevitably Steph's mobile is the first on the list. Not only would there be the embarrassment of not being there on time to collect your child, who was supposed to be (and was) the most precious thing in your world, but then you had to deal with the fallout from the child itself, crying because she was the last one to be picked up after having suffered the mounting drama of watching the door to the classroom open twenty-five times, only to see that it wasn't them being collected. And if Steph got a call from the school while she was in Geneva on this conference I'd seriously be in the shit.

It didn't go as far as a phone call, which was a relief. The worst of it was a grim look from Mrs Hill. Freya ran to me when I appeared at the door. She gave me a huge hug around my legs which made my heart want to escape my chest. When she released me I walked over to her tiny table and loaded myself up with her lunchbox, coat, a painting of a summer scene and her cardigan. I consoled myself with the fact there was one other boy in the classroom waiting to be collected.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Extract Friday (2 of 3)

Another extract from The Tolworth Beacon...

A lady appeared, crossing the road, briefly illuminated by the headlights of the police car. She was probably in her thirties. Bleach blonde with dark roots, very short hair. Arms folded, cigarette between her fingers. She was wearing a sky-blue onesie.

There was only one thing for it. I'd earlier folded my white t-shirt and jeans on the chest of drawers, so I put them on and went down the hallway, past the front door, into the living room via the kitchen to find my shoes. I was pretty sure I'd kicked them off by the coffee table when I sat down to do the jigsaw earlier. I flicked the wall light switch and regretted it's cold brightness immediately as it forced my eyes closed. I switched it off again and moved over to a smaller free standing lamp in the corner near the television. With a warmer light on I caught sight of the puzzle. Partially completed. Five-hundred pieces. It was practically all white, except for a few black marks which I had yet to slot into the middle (I always started with the edges). I was a fanatic, but this one was definitely among the oddest out of all the jigsaws I had done.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Extract Friday (1 of 3)

Since I started writing this novel last week I have hit the grand figure of 16000 words. I am aiming for 30000 as a completed first draft but I think I may go a little north of that based on where I am and how much is left to write. Anyway, here is my first extract, very carefully selected so as not to give too much away...

Extract from The Tolworth Beacon

The bedroom of this flat, number 25b, looked down onto Wellowteme Crescent and a triangle junction with Chalkweald Avenue; the triangle itself little more than a raised patch of grass with a faded yellow gritter box on it. As I examined the view I was expecting to see the results of a car collision. I should have known better, because if anyone knows what a car crash sounds like it's me.

There had been a few dings out there in the seven years we'd lived on Wellowteme Crescent. At least two a year. Most recently a young lad in a Honda Civic not slowing down enough for the junction had clipped the back end of a Citroen C1 driven by an older lady who had the right of way. The problem was the faded paint markings, which regularly caught out the uninitiated. Three winters ago a guy rolled his van over the grass triangle. Ironically there was black ice and he was going way too fast, and he obliterated the gritter box. The fire brigade had to cut him out of the van. He lost a leg I think. Was another life being turned upside down this very moment?

Monday, 27 January 2020

Writing a Novel in a Month for Charity

I have been preparing to write a new novel recently and I'm now ready to take on the challenge of getting the first draft written in a month!

Cancer has affected a lot of lovely people around me over the years but particularly recently amongst work colleagues and friends. It's devastating how it affects lives and I wanted to combine fundraising for Cancer Research with a challenge which I thought would be unique, but also tie in with something I think is achievable for me. I hope you can come along on my journey to complete a 30,000-word first draft in the month of February. I do get a bit of extra time as it's a leap year, with the month starting and ending on a Saturday.

Along the way I'll be posting updates about my progress, taking about what is inspiring me each day, as well as trying to get to grips with Instagram (username huwlangridge) to give short video updates too.

Anyway here's my JustGiving page.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Axiom Few at Tapas

My short story collection The Axiom Few is currently one of the staff picks over at Tapas. Please head on over and subscribe to read new episodes.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

All in good time

The art of plot procrastination is something you have to master when you're writing. You can't burn through your plot too quickly, so how do you overcome the desire to throw in each staggering revelation in your story just to get them onto the page?

It's sometimes frustrating when it's done badly. The protagonist finally locates the one person who has the answer to all the questions, and when the critical question is asked of the character, the response is often, "I will tell you everything you need to know, all in good time, but first, you must be hungry!"

This sort of thing usually ends up with the character with all the information getting murdered before he can answer said question.

How did I get round it when I was writing Spireclaw? Well, without wanting to spoil the plot and revelations in that story (Spireclaw thrives on its twists and turns and blind alleys), there were a couple of techniques which I employed.  Use several angles at once. Keep several balls in the air so that the reader is never quite sure which one is going to drop. Is the twist going to be around This or That? Bring your revelations in from a perspective and angle that is unexpected. It enables you to build new perspectives on the issue at hand without having to play your trump card so quickly. I realise these are abstract concepts, but if you want to know what I mean, go and read Spireclaw on this very website, or get it from Amazon on your Kindle. Then come back and read this blog post again.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Sound of my summer

This is what was playing repeatedly in my ears while stretched out on a sunbed by the pool this summer. A blissful trance track to listen to while staring up at a pure blue sky through swaying palm trees. Very inspiring.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that my book "Schaefers Integrity" is free on the Kindle this weekend?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The new stuff or the old stuff?

On a Nerdist podcast I was listening to recently (I can't remember who was being interviewed, it might have been the awesome Michael Ironside), Chris Hardwick asked the question, sorry to paraphrase, " Do you keep looking out for new stuff to fill your head with, our do you keep going back to the old stuff you love, to reinforce those things in your mind?"

What a great question! Something I've considered several times since. When my better half asks me why I buy new music when I have so much music already (my HTC 1 M8 has a 128Gb MicroSD card full of pinned music from my Google Play repository), I struggle to answer.

But I suppose the real reason is that you can only discover a piece of music for the first time once. I have favourite albums from every year and every decade. And when I bought them I would listen to them on hard rotation for as long as a month, unable to bring myself to swap out the CD and listen to anything else because it would be some kind of betrayal. While I still love those albums, I'd never go back and listen to them again in the same way. But maybe I should. Why quest for new bands, new artists, new music, when all those amazing records still sit there waiting to be listened to again. There are some songs that are so beautiful that I could listen to them on repeat forever.

My favourite science fiction books, like the Isaac Asimov Foundation Series, Stephen King's The Dark Tower or the Arthur C Clarke Rama books, cannot be discovered again for the first time. I doubt I could feel the same sense of wonder again by reading them a second time. But then what about all the details I've forgotten? Surely that merits another dive into those worlds?

Part of it comes with age. You've exposed yourself to so many things, so much music, so many films and books, that suddenly it feels right to honour those things you loved from your younger years, because didn't they serve to form you into the person that you came to be?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Bonfire Night Freebies

Four of my books will be available for free this Thursday (5th November) for a one day only, get 'em while you can deal on Amazon Kindle.

Schaefer's Integrity
A Comet of Ideas Looking for a Planet
The Axiom Few
The Train Set

I hope you take this opportunity to pick up one of these books and get lost in a world I created.

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Origins of BRENDA

My follow up to "The Axiom Few" is coming along nicely and I sincerely hope to get it out the door before the summer. By the way, "The Axiom Few" is free on the Kindle from the 21st to 23rd January. Click here to get it.

The sequel collection, "The Axiom Tapestry" will contain eight more stories, one of which, "The Pytance Initiative" will contain part of the origin story of the BRENDA device that is so prominent in the first book.

Here is an extract from "The Pytance Initiative"...

The quantum strip hung in the centre of a clear, spherical bosonic chamber which could be seen from the upper gantry where Vernal Campion now stood, tablet in hand, scanning the system event logs for errors. With two hours to go, thankfully there were none. If any appeared now, he may have to be the one to tell Derek. And the Prime Minister had already departed London on her way to the Stratabyre. Trying to halt this rolling snowball would be a messy business.

He stepped out of the inner glass door, which slid closed softly behind him, and traversed the elevated walkway towards the rear of the Stratabyre. Below him a system of cable troughs crisscrossed the cave, disappearing into sections of rock wall towards coolant lakes and hidden banks of processor arrays housed deep within the perpetually cold, ancient stone. Above him, dim lamps barely lit the space, due to the lumo-sensitivity of the biological meshes that hung vertically from specially designed dermabrackets. He could hear the sound of soft unseen fans working to keep the cave drier than nature would intend, while leaving the environment moist enough for the bio-meshes to retain their elasticity. The combination of sounds felt to Vernal as though the whole cave was humming with anticipation.

Something about the majesty of the space, where high technology fused with millions of years of geology made technicians speak in low voices when they were out in the main area, away from the control room. Or was it just that the Stratabyre had the capacity to carry echoing voices and resound them into an unintelligible susurration. All he could hear were whispers now. A quiet church.

And despite being nothing more than a biologically enhanced machine, straddling the inside of the cave like a confined spider, the Brenda device had no front or back, no face or physical interface, and had not even been fully connected up, yet Vernal Campion was convinced she (no, not she... IT) was looking right at him.

Monday, 20 October 2014

What does God look like?

My five year old son asked me what God looks like yesterday. I immediately started thinking about the way I asked myself that question while I was writing Schaefer's Integrity about ten years ago. But I replied, "Well, what do you think God looks like?" He said he didn't know, but could we look him up on the iPad. So we Googled God. And sure enough, on the internet you get a lot of pictures of a bearded old white fella parting the clouds. I explained that nobody had ever seen God and these were just people guessing. Then I suggested maybe my son would like to draw his own idea of what God looks like. So he did. What does it tell you that he drew a man dressed in black with a red face and... are they horns...?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Winner - Best Large Service Desk Award Of The Year 2014 - CoSocius (Forrest Screendump)

About a year ago on this blog I presented a spoof video I had written and directed for our company called "Service Desk in Black", which, as the name would suggest, was a riff on Men in Black. This year, the company's submission (again written and directed by yours truly, although not without some stellar input from many others) was a spin on Forrest Gump. Not only did the video win (unofficially) best video at the Service Desk Institute awards, but our company CoSocius won the overall award for Best Large Service Desk. Well done to all involved. And here is "Forrest Screendump"...

Thursday, 19 June 2014

"The Axiom Few" moves on

I'm going to use the word "tapestry" here because I can see no other way of describing the route my new set of Axiom Few short stories seems to be taking. BRENDA's origin story is well underway and I'm really excited. The stories are becoming a tapestry and that may well influence the title of the story collection when it comes out. It won't all be about new characters though. At the end of The Autumn Structure our friend Geek was trapped on an alien vessel and I have to get him off there!

All this will come in time. I'm having a lot of fun with it at the moment. In the meantime, why not head over to Amazon and get the book that started it all...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Axiom Few - Free on Kindle till Monday

"...Come on, Channel 4, there's a series waiting to be made here..." -

"....A good old fashioned (yet high-tech) tale of approaching apocalypse, this story served to remind me just what unpretentious science fiction can do when written by someone who clearly relishes every word..." - Whispers of Wickedness

"...Beautifully crafted..." Annieworld

"...a nicely told story of alternate realities..." SFRevu

My short story collection The Axiom Few is the science fiction I am most proud of, and also the work that I enjoy revisiting the most. The ideas in the eight stories here feel to me like a springboard into a wider mythology. Three of these stories were published in Jupiter SF magazine, and were widely reviewed on various SF websites.

In other Axiom Few news I have started working on another set of stories to be published sometime in the not too distant future. Obviously Archer, Geek and Davey will be returning and their adventures will continue, but there will be some new characters too, whose presence and effects have already been felt.

This book is reviewed on the SF Crowsnest website here and can be picked up on Amazon for free from Thursday 30th January to Monday 3rd February. I really hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Three for Free this Weekend on Kindle

A triple whammy from me this weekend. Schaefer's Integrity, A Comet of Ideas Looking for a Planet and The Train Set. All free this weekend. If you have a Kindle, you should click on 'em. Go on, you know you want to.


Monday, 21 October 2013

The Things

The other night I treated myself to a Blu-Ray double bill of "John Carpenter's The Thing" (1982) and "The Thing" (2011), though, of course, the correct order to see them in, given that the latter is the prequel, is the other way round.

A lot has been said against the 2011 film, that it is a pale imitation of John Carpenter's classic horror, but I think it is a great piece of work, and it stands well against the older film, and it is a real joy to see them back to back, to learn what happened to the fated Norwegians before that helicopter came buzzing over the Antarctic ice shelf chasing that dog. And the two films, despite being made nearly 30 years apart, gel beautifully together.

What is especially fun is seeing how well Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr has recreated the living scenes from the ghosts or aftermaths of the scenes in the 1982 film, in his 2011 prequel. It's great to see the continuity of the helicopter, the dog, but also the ice-block and the room it is stored in, the axe in the wall, and the dead man in the chair. The attention to detail is exemplary, and it shows a real reverence for the older film, which, as Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr rightly said, could not be improved upon, so why even attempt to remake it.

If you're a fan of John Carpenter's classic film, I highly recommend a late night double bill.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Crowdfunding Thing

Crowdfunding is not something I'd given any thought to when it came to putting a piece of fiction out to the world. I'd always gone down the Lulu and Amazon KDP route, which for me seems to be working very well and gains more traction with every passing month. So when a work colleague, Ian Stove, mentioned to me today that he was using Kickstarter to put the finishing touches on his children's book it certainly made me think more seriously about it.

I've backed Ian's book and you can do it too by going here, and I'll be keen to hear from Ian how he gets on with his project, and I hope it gains the funding level it needs to go forward. The book certainly looks like a lot of fun, and although it initially looks like it might be an older read than my four year old will be able to understand (though I may be wrong about that), I'm sure I will enjoy reading it nonetheless. It's always great to read stuff by people you know.

Ian also has a book on Kindle, A Year Without Beer, which you can find here and gets a respectable 4.5 stars.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Free till Sunday - A Comet of Ideas...

My brand spanking new short story collection A Comet of Ideas Looking for a Planet is free on Kindle until Sunday 14th July.

This collection covers fifteen years of writing, of stories that weren't part of the Axiom Few canon, or novels, obviously. In a later post I will write more about the stories behind the stories, but for now I hope you enjoy reading it.

Click here to get the book

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Schaefer's Integrity - free till Sunday 7th July

I hope you enjoy it. Get it between now and Sunday and it will cost you nothing. You can get it from here.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Comet of Ideas Looking for a Planet - released today

Over the last fifteen years or so I have written a number of short stories that have sat in a drawer (well, a digital drawer). I had put a few of them on my website when it was it its previous incarnation but now I feel I have enough stories to merit a collection. It's available from today on Kindle here.

From the frozen tundra of Jupiter's moon Europa, to a rainy night on Dartmoor. From an evening rush hour train bound for King's Cross, to a murderous interrogation room. From the hot city of Khartoum, to an interstellar data router that has started to malfunction. From the Falkland Islands, to a nightclub in the Kuiper Belt. Huw Langridge brings you 13 short science fiction stories to make you think about where we came from, where we're going, and who else might be with us.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Service Desk in Black

In 1987, at the age of fourteen, I was involved in a youth film-making project in London. We made a short film called "Why?" which clocked in at about 8 minutes, and featured, among others, a very young Charlie Condou (who currently plays Marcus Dent in Coronation Street).

The video went on to win the BBC's Showreel 87 Film Awards,  Judged by Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist, The World Is Not Enough, Blink), Chris Menges (The Reader, The Mission, The Killing Fields) and Bob Godfrey (creator of Henry's Cat) with “Why?”, a film about school bullying, shot on video and televised in the Christmas of that year.  As the cameraman on that film I was especially honoured to be told by Michael Apted that he was impressed with the camerawork.

I had always wanted to be a film maker and even did five days running at Scott Free, Ridley and Tony Scott's production company in Beak Street, Soho in 1993. It was then however, that the reality check hit me and I decided that the politics of film-making was definitely not for me. The highlight of that short tenure was to lay eyes upon the original H R Giger drawings for Alien, hanging above the great man's desk, and the large globe used by Gerard Depardieu as Columbus in 1492. Ridley himself was on the phone while I stocked his fridge with beer, but he did take a moment to thank me as I was leaving his vast top-floor office.

Fast-forward 20 years and when the opportunity to write and direct a short video for Cheshire Council's ICT Service Desk came along, I seized the moment and wrote a short treatment for the opening scene of the video, which, it had already been decided by the team, would be a riff on "Men in Black".

Cue the "Service Desk in Black", which formed the "fun video" part of an overall entry by the ICT Service Desk into the Service Desk Institute's annual awards for "Best Large Service Desk". As a finalist, the fun video has to be produced for the Gala ceremony. It has to showcase the team and the great work they do.

So, now the ceremony has been and gone, we can unleash the video to YouTube. We shot it over three evenings in early May 2013, and had a huge laugh doing it. It was one of the highlights of my career to be involved in this project.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Spinequake Register

Just a quick post to let you know that my flash fiction story "The Spinequake Register" is today's publication on Why not go and have a read?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Two free books from me this weekend

Just a very quick post to let you know that my books Schaefer's Integrity and The Train Set will both be free on Kindle from this Friday and all weekend.

These books are definitely worth a lot more than the paper they are not printed on.

Here's my author page on Amazon, where you'll be able to get them from Friday to Sunday for nothing.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Life in the Kuiper Belt - Free today and tomorrow

My science-fiction adventure novel Schaefer's Integrity is free today and tomorrow on Kindle. That's Friday 30th November and Saturday 1st December.

Set at the edge of our solar system, amongst the many spinning stations and stones that make up the Kuiper Belt mining colony, Duncan Schaefer, a lowly chef, becomes infected with a virus that brings into question a number of beliefs held by the scientific community. The virus has a mind of its own and soon Duncan is on a quest to Earth to discover the truth about the strange mutations in his body, and his bizarre dreams of an inverted pyramid structure in distant space...something called the Extraction Point.

Below is a snippet from Schaefer's Integrity. Get the novel free here.

After the meeting with Carl I returned to my cabin, put on Kuiper Limit’s latest album and prepared for the launch.  Halfway into the first piece of music we took off.  Amidst a stomach-churning rumble of the high-pressure pumps firing steam into the propulsion chambers, we undocked from the Construction Station on what was to be – for me – the first of only three voyages as an employee on the Josiah.  I sat glued to the monitor in my cabin throughout the launch.  I watched as we lifted clear of the docking platform and cast away the last of the tethers.  Then, with a burst of the pressure jets, Josiah eased forward and away to the left, slowly at first but picking up speed quite quickly.  Down on the docking platform I could see a couple of servicemen waving goodbye before turning and walking off towards the lifts.  Within three minutes the ship reached the main entrance to the dock and we slid out into the vast expanse of space.
I was instantly blessed with a stunning panoramic vista as the camera revealed the familiar and beautiful cluster of stars at the centre of our galaxy.  The clarity and depth of what I could see filled me with a new sense of awe; an enriched sense of distance and perspective.
Back on Josiah once again, space felt different.  There was something about being on a small ship – rather than a huge space station – that enhanced the sense of oneness with the endless ether.
What must life have been like for my ancestors? Back in mankind’s childhood, trapped on Earth, they never knew a life in space.
Kuiper Limit was playing loud in my ear.  Yet again they had scored the scene perfectly.  This was the beginning of my new life, and I could feel my throat tighten with emotion as I saw the Construction Station getting smaller and smaller in the distance behind us.
Soon after, I caught sight of my old home - the Entertainment Station - spinning away like a loose wheel in the distance as it emerged from behind the Construction Station.  It too got smaller and smaller through my view-port as Josiah pulled me away, pulling me on to a new life.
The station itself was a big, grey and drab spinning disc.  No artist would ever feel compelled to paint a likeness of its structure.  All an artist would ever do is wish for it to be adorned with brighter colours.  But survival in space was not about aesthetics, cosmetics and beauty; it was about functionality, safety and - above all - the integrity of the hull, which kept the murderous vacuum at bay.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Train Now Departing

A hearty thanks to everyone who downloaded my short story collection The Train Set over the weekend. I shifted 181 copies and made it to #6 in the Amazon short stories chart in the UK!

If you have read the collection, or even only part of it, I would be hugely grateful if you could write a short review on Amazon. Every review helps sell more copies and I really would like this collection to be a success.

Sometime between now and Christmas I will be promoting one other book in a free 2-day extravaganza, Schaefer's Integrity, so keep an eye out for that, and I will obviously be making it known here, and on Twitter and Facebook, when that happens.

In the meantime please look at my other works which (due to various copyright issues) will probably not be going for free on Kindle in the foreseeable future. Those are The Axiom Few, Spireclaw and The Daedalus Transfer (the latter two of which can be read right now on this website).

Thanks again everyone!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Train Set - Free Today and Tomorrow

Just a quick post to let you Kindle readers know that my short story collection "The Train Set" is available on Amazon for free today and tomorrow (Nov 23rd and 24th). I would love it if you downloaded and had a read of one or two stories within it, (or all of them if you like). Then tell your friends!

You can get it here.

Here's a snippet from one of the stories... "At Steepdean Halt"

I was twelve that year when we had our last family picnic at Steepdean. The field where we had come for years was just as beautiful as ever, and in the heat of June 1976 it possessed a summery beauty that seemed to contrast so plainly against the tragedy that happened here; a tragedy that protracted an idyllic day in the countryside into a sad and mournful autumn.

My younger brother, Samuel, aged eight, hands sticky with dried orangeade, beat me in a running race to the edge of the field where the trees began. He may have been four years younger than me but he was just as tall and his legs were powerful. He’d probably had more sugar than me too. Besides, I was a girl and in my brother's eyes, girls could never be faster than boys.

Though we were both out of breath when we got to the edge of the field we wasted no time in seeking shade from the high sun, which pierced the perfect blue sky but could not penetrate the canopy of leaves.

Samuel was already standing astride on the lowest branch of one of the bigger trees when I caught up, and while I bent over out of breath with the heels of my hands supported on my knees, he was eagerly climbing to the next set of branches.

 ‘Be careful,’ I shouted knowing full well that my pleas would not be heeded. In fact, he was already on the next branch up and could probably see the village from his vantage point if he looked to the south across the cut.

The railway below had been almost invisible to me, and when the sound of a diesel train started to rise in the distance to the east it became obvious just how close to the track we were. Through the trees below us the sun pinched the four rails. The ever louder churning of the oncoming train filled the day and soon the smell of the locomotive was upon us, as was the train itself. A flat fronted, yellow-faced, blue Class 60 with 8 passenger carriages plunged noisily past us. No sooner had it appeared did it disappear to the west, dropping us back into a silence punctuated by nothing but the sound of the church bell in the village tolling two o'clock.

Samuel and I had been silent and unmoving while the train had passed, but this minor interlude, or the apparent danger it presented, did not stop my brother from boldly climbing to a higher part of the tree.

'You should come down from there,' I called, but the grin he returned to me displayed that a common stubbornness had possessed him, the kind of bloody-mindedness that usually ended up with grazed hands and knees, salty tears and ice-cream. As he advanced further along a branch that seemed incapable of holding even his small frame, I thought these actions would end in tears. I had no idea that the tears would belong to my mother, my father and me.

The moment it all started was when Samuel stopped suddenly, looking down and out in front of him as though he was eyeing a place to land from a jump that was both dangerous and stupid.

'Don't jump! It's too far and the ground is sloped!'

He ignored me, but said nothing and for a moment I switched my thoughts to the notion that he might have been planning a leap to the branch of another tree.

Eventually he called down to me, 'Claire. There's a girl on the railway line.'

Friday, 2 November 2012

Sighting FM

...point three. Surrey's favourite destination for talk. That's the weather. It's eleven oh six. Now, before we go to our next caller I have to say. Jane in the booth opposite me who lovingly takes your calls tells me that the switchboard is going absolutely crazy tonight. Apparently people have been ringing in saying there are some mysterious lights in the sky above Dorking. I'm gonna take one of those calls now. Barry, you're up on Box Hill aren't you? What are you doing up there so late, shouldn't you be in bed?

Well Nick there's loads of us up here and we've been watching these three lights going back and forth for the last hour.

Whereabouts are they exactly? I mean, you should have a pretty good view up there right?

Yeah, they're sort of over Leith Hill way.

Isn't that the approach to Gatwick? Are you sure these aren't just planes landing Barry?

Yeah well, they would be if they were moving towards the airport but these lights are just sort of oscillating back and forth.

Really? How many are up there with you watching this?

Hundreds. We're all up on the lookout watching to the south and these lights...

Are the lights together when they move?


I mean, are they in a formation?

Yeah, like it's... like they're attached to one ship.


Or craft or what have you.

Thanks Barry. I can hear lots of people in the background. Sounds like there's a crowd up there. I'm gonna try... Jane can you... yep. I want to try and get through to Surrey police to see if they've... Ahh, they're engaged. Ok. Keep trying for me Jane. Put them through when they answer. Right, we have Anne on the line. If anyone knows what this is about then please do call in so we can put our listener's minds to rest. Now Anne you're up on Leith Hill aren't you?

That's right Nick. The lights are directly above us, we can even feel the...

How high above you are they Anne? Can you tell us?

...warmth of the lights. About fifty metres above us. Yeah, fifty to a...

So it's really quite close to you?

...hundred or so...

And how are the lights arranged? Can you... a vertical rod, three lights arranged...

Can you see if it's actually a ship, like our last caller said?

...hovering above us.

I have to say that we've just had a call from the Civil Aviation Authority and they've actually suspended all inbound and out... Anne, what was that noise? Anne?

I'm here. There's a new light. A spotlight shining directly down on our hill and...

Another light? Coming from the shippy crafty thing? up everyone on the hill. I didn't realise there were so many people up here and... oh my G...

Anne? Anne are you still there? Anne? Well it looks like we've... we've lost Anne there. Jane can you find out what happened to that line. Let's go to line five in the meantime. We have erm... let's go to Alex who's on Box Hill. Alex what can you see?

There's a like, a light shining down onto Leith Hill but from this far away I can't really work out what's going on.

We were just talking to Anne, who was on Leith Hill but the line went dead. I don't know if there's anyone else up th...

It's shooting up into the sky. The lights are climbing upwards.

Alex, stay... stay on the line, we've got to go to a break...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

All my stuff has moved

Now that The Train Set has launched on Kindle (what do you mean you don't have a copy?), I have turned my attention to relocating all the content from my website into this blog site. I was getting tired of updating multiple locations with new information, and also becoming less of a fan of Moonfruit due to my website not showing up very well on anything made by Apple. I know all that will change but it's a service I'm paying for and it just doesn't seem necessary anymore.

So please browse the page tabs at the top to view all (or most) of the content that was previously available on my website. I will, in a short while, update the page redirects for my web domains to point to here, so that links to me are not lost.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Train Set - A Glimpse at the Cover

My short story collection "The Train Set" is now out on Kindle. A great little book for Halloween.

The collection includes the following stories:

At Steepdean Halt - Previously published in 2008 in The Ranfurly Review
The Suited Man of Lock St Station - New to this collection.
Last Train to Tassenmere - Previously published in 2009 in Supernatural Tales. Received an honourable mention in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror. 
The View From Setcham Viaduct - New to this collection (although briefly seen on this blog last year)
Dark Tickets - Also briefly seen on this blog, but new to this collection.
Flyers - A novella that is new to this collection.

Buy The Train Set from Amazon on Kindle now.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Books now available on Kindle

I'm pleased to say that four of my earlier works are now available to buy on Kindle via Amazon, all for less than a quid. Considering they are all so ridiculously cheap there isn't much of an excuse not to have a look, unless you don't have a Kindle, in which case, get it for the Kindle app on your phone or tablet. See I told you there's no excuse.

Go here to see them.