writing

News, reviews and fiction from Spinneyhead Books.


Sounds of Soldiers is available in paperback

Sounds of Soldiers cover

One of this year’s missions is to get as many as possible of my ebooks available as paperbacks. A couple of Garth Owen books are already in print, and now Sounds of Soldiers joins them.

Universal Amazon link

It’s also going to be available through the appropriate distribution routes for sale in bookshops. If you want your local bookshop to get some of your money, you can ask them to order it for you. The dreaded Amazon still get their cut, and I get less. But I don’t mind that if it puts money into the pockets of small business owners as part of the deal.


Chosen Ones and new directions

Chosen Ones, part 1, page 1

The Short Version- This is page 1 of Chosen Ones, my new comic. The elevator pitch goes- “What happened to Harry Potter next?”* A bunch of former teen heroes and heroines, bored now they’ve fulfilled their prophesied destinies, set out to have more adventures.

Pages will go up on the Patreon as they’re finished, then will be published on The Duck webcomics later.

The Long Version- I’ve not been as productive as I’d like so far this year. It’s time for a rethink. I think I’ll get more done by putting aside the projects that aren’t working out, and try some new things.

I still want to work on Didn’t Bleed Red, but I need to leave it for a while, and build a better outline. Then I’ll be able to attack it properly.

On the comics front, Uninvited Guests is not getting finished any time soon, and I did too many pages that I wasn’t happy with. So I’m taking it down from the webcomic host, and starting again with Chosen Ones. I’m drawing it on smaller pages, and in shorter episodes. As said above, Pages will go up on Patreon first, then I’ll work out a schedule for wider publication. Right now, I have six more pages pencilled, and I’ll be attacking them in the next week or two.

Hopefully, I’ll have more new stuff for you soon.

*Yes, I know what happened next was shown in the epilogue (I’ve only ever seen the films), but the cliche of the elevator pitch is that you have to relate you project to an existing successful franchise.


Support your local indie author!

I don’t sell enough books to make a living, mostly because I’ve never been much good at self promotion. But, increasingly, also because I’m not a cheat, it seems.

You can help independent authors like me- real people, writing because it’s what they love to do- fight back. If you’ve read one of my books, and enjoyed it, please leave a review. They feed into Amazon’s* algorithms, pushing my books up lists and getting them in front of more potential customers. If you didn’t like the book, contact me directly, and I’ll take the criticisms on board and try to do better next time.

If you think it’s cool that one of your friends is an author, show that appreciation by buying one (or more) of their books. They cost less than that pint you were going to buy them the next time you’re in a pub together. Sales push books up the charts, another way to raise a book’s profile and get it seen by more potential customers.

I can’t ask that you stop buying the churned material barfed out by scammers. Part of the scam is that customers don’t know they’re being scammed until it’s too late.

*Other ebook sites exist. My books are available from most of them, as well.


Northern Gorehouse: Vampires and Zombies and Brexit

The ‘Brexit novel’ is a thing, but they tend to be literary works, which aren’t really my thing. I would like to make the case for Northern Gorehouse being not only a fun alternative, but also one of the first to be published

The novel was finished in April or May of 2017, but it didn’t feel right to release it so soon after the Arena bombing, given the violent ending of the story. So it came out for Halloween of that year.

The book was written as an action horror story. The ability to map the stupid politics of the last few years onto it is a bonus. Indeed, the B word is only mentioned once in the story, right at the beginning, to establish the run down state of the nation, and show how the vampires have come in to take advantage of it.

Vampires as a stand in for capitalists and the ruling elite is not a new metaphor, but as I’ve established it’s post Brexit, I’m going to call them the disaster capitalists who caused, and benefit from, all the pain. Being vampires, they, of course, take advantage of the homeless the country has abandoned. And have corrupt servants in the political system, covering up for them, and pushing policies that aid them. Again, not new tropes in vampire fiction, but ones that map perfectly well onto the Brexit theme.

Of course, the political allegory was never the main aim of the story, and it’s harder to map metaphor onto it once the action really starts. The zombies are created by the vampires but (spoiler) it’s an accident. In a true Brexit allegory, they would be a deliberate method for distracting people at street level and keeping them away from turning on the elite.

Similarly, the fact that vampires exist wouldn’t be such a shock in a more pointed Brexit take. Everyone would have at least an inkling they were there, but their bought politicians and the media would be demanding that people look the other way.

Since I wrote the book, I’ve discovered another character who wasn’t included- the Brave Warrior claiming to be from a long line of vampire hunters, who has actually betrayed the people they pretend to be protecting, for reasons that don’t make any sense. There’s no Lexit Van Helsing in Northern Gorehouse.

I think you should read my accidental Brexit novel. If nothing else, you can pretend the vampires are Farage, Gove, Johnson et al. (It won’t be any stretch at all with Rees Mogg.)


Didn’t Bleed Red

I’m trying something different for the serialisation of my current work in progress. Didn’t Bleed Red is being serialised at Tapas, a comics and prose platform for mobile and web readers. As usual, supporters on Patreon get to see episodes around a month before they’re generally available.

Here’s the prologue-

The ships appeared from nowhere, or so it seemed. The world’s governments had known there was something coming for a month, but no-one could tell them what it was. They were as surprised as everyone else by the shapes that arrived in orbit. Simple platonic solids from a distance, up close the scoring of heat dissipation trenches and hangar doors, and the dimpling of sensor arrays and weaponry became clear.

They hung over the planet for half a day, visible from the ground as they caught the sun. Then the smaller ships arrived, and the attack began.

Space Force lasted seconds, its satellites swatted away before the order had been given to release their nuclear payloads. Conventional forces fared better. In the air, fighter pilots became aces as they met the first wave of the attack. But the alien ships kept on coming, and were joined by larger, tougher vessels. Despite mounting losses, the air forces of Earth kept on downing invaders, but could not hold the mass of them back.

On the ground, as the landing craft disgorged all manner of armed creatures, infantry and armoured divisions fought as bravely as their comrades in the air. The aliens had more powerful weapons, and were heavily armoured. But they weren’t invulnerable. If they could be made to bleed, then there would be a way to kill them. Many did die, but they took at least as many human soldiers with them, and were soon replaced.

Earth was losing the war of attrition. Prime Ministers, Presidents and dictators around the world considered launching nuclear weapons at the key landing spots. It seemed their only means of rebalancing the battle on the ground. Hopefully it would be a harsh enough blow that their remaining forces could repulse the attack.

The decision was made. A timetable was hurriedly agreed, and fingers hovered over the launch buttons.

Just then, the invasion fleet started to drop from the sky. The gigantic ships in orbit went dark. The spherical one had a bite taken out of it by a huge explosion. On the ground, the menagerie of troops fell into disarray. Many collapsed, or froze in place, trapped inside the armour that had protected them moments before. Some threw down their weapons and cowered in surrender. Others turned their guns and blades on creatures which had, moments before, been their comrades. A number fought on, but their depleted and confused ranks were soon bested. A large number fled, and a significant number of them have yet to be tracked down.

A disc shaped ship, smallest of the first arrivals, dropped from orbit and tumbled into the Western Pacific. Belly flopping into the ocean, it drove a minor tsunami toward the Chinese coastline. It floats in international waters, a new island of exotic alloys and unknown technologies, circled by ships from all the world’s navies, awaiting investigation.

No-one in power knows why the invasion came to such an abrupt end, though many want to take credit for it. Supercomputers and intelligence analysts are working hard to crack even the slightest bit of the spike in communications amongst the aliens that presaged the collapse. It must have some bearing upon what happened, but they can’t yet tell what. Everyone awaits the rebooting of the orbiting platonics, a second wave of fighters and troop carriers, or some other terror that they cannot imagine. Something must be set to happen.

Until it does, the clean up must go on. Rubble is being cleared, plans are being made for cities to be rebuilt. Refugees are being found shelter, and provided with food and water. Elsewhere, dead aliens are being dissected, and live ones are being examined. Their languages are being learnt, where possible, and they are being questioned. Their craft and weapons are being gathered up and dismantled. Reverse engineered and reworked, some of their equipment will be used against them, should they try again.

As yet, the question of where the fleet came from has not been answered. The reason for the invasion is unknown, the wide array of differing morphologies and biologies of their army unexplained. But humanity defeated them once, surely it can resolve all of these questions in time.

Meanwhile, a tiny group knows some of the secrets of the invaders. They, with help, were the ones who halted the invasion and saved the planet. But they dare not reveal themselves, because they also know that the aliens arrived years before, and have implanted their agents, and cultivated traitors, at the highest levels of Earth’s governments.

They must lay low until they can be sure they and the world are truly safe, avoiding the alien and human forces hunting them down. And they have to help a friend who is no longer completely human, and is fearful of losing her identity, but who could hold the key to the ultimate safety of the planet.

This is their story.


A Death In Didsbury

A Death In Didsbury is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online stores.

When a woman is shot dead on a quiet street of trendy shops, Detective Sergeant Kay Wood is reunited with an old acquaintance, and has to work with retired intelligence analyst Irwin Baker to help them out.

Unexpected violence flares on the streets of the Manchester suburb of Didsbury, and the investigation is soon tangled up in links to Russia and crimes dating back to the Second World War. As the intelligence services are drawn into the mystery, two witnesses find their lives turned up side down, and threatened, by their connection to the victim.


A Death In Didsbury – 43

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 42

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 41

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 40

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 39

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 38

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 37

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 36

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
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Slashed is now available in paperback

Slashed is now available in paperback, printed and delivered by Amazon. This edition has a redesigned cover, and also features bonus content- the two short stories which made up book two of the Lost Picture Show series. Order your copy now.

A house with a grisly history.

The killer who calls it home.

Eight teens planning a party.

But who’s hunting who?

Warden’s Lodge has a blood soaked history dating back to before the Civil War.

After a violent massacre it has stood empty for over twenty years. The locals keep their doors locked and are never far from a gun, fearing what they think lives in the lodge.

When eight teenagers turn up, determined to have a party in the lodge despite the warnings, blood can’t be far away.

In one long, violent night the lodge is going to claim more lives.


A Death In Didsbury – 35

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 34

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 33

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 32

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

A Death In Didsbury – 31

This content is being serialised for Patreon supporters. You can get it for as little as $1 a month. This is book five in the Rain & Bullets series. You can get books one and two for free if you sign up to the mailing list. Book three, Solstice, is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores. Book four, Kettled, is also available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other stores.
To view this content, you must be a member of Ian Pattinson's Patreon at $1 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.