Fiction


Letting the sun set on Solstice

Last month, I unpublished one of my books. Solstice is no longer available to buy.

I’ve stopped selling books before, but there’s a bit of a tale to this decision. It needs to start with the story’s inspirations, and what happened in it. I’d put a spoilers warning here, but you can’t buy it any more, so let’s dive straight in.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing. Sometimes stories come from a single idea. More often- for me- a bunch of thoughts combine, and I’ve got something to build from.

Solstice came from three directions.

The first was an urge to create something akin to 24- a fast moving, time limited challenge for my characters. It was going to be a Rain & Bullets story, so the crime needed to have an immediate and further threat related to it.

Next, there was the news that the government wanted to outsource management of youth detention centres to private providers. Given the history of this sort of thing, the inevitability of corruption or incompetence harming children was obvious. For a crime story, it’s the corruption and harm that I would be concentrating on, so what form would that take?

As Solstice started to come together, I was becoming aware of the then starting Operations Yewtree and Midland. The threat of a ring of child abusers with powerful connections was compelling, and very “ripped from the headlines”. If those powerful connections had access to children, then there was the danger and harm for the story.

The story came together quickly from there. As the Rain & Bullets regulars investigated a murder with ties to corruption after the invasion of Iraq, a young woman and her activist friend are trying to rescue her nephew from detention. They have a suspicion that something very wrong is going on, and as they find out what it is, they’re heading for collision with Kay and Irwin’s case.

All good ingredients for an action adventure, and I’m very happy with the structure and pace I managed to give it. So why have I deleted it from the back catalogue?

Shortly after publication, it started to become clear that the claims of a VIP paedophile ring all originated from the testimony of one supposed witness. His stories fell apart one by one, until he ended up on trial for the damage they had caused.

Still, Solstice was a solid story. I figured I’d still leave it out there, though. What harm could it do?

Then, along came QAnon, and its bizarre British mirror image – the SRA hunters.

SRA stands for Satanic Ritual Abuse. It isn’t a new fantasy, the Satanic Panic of the eighties and nineties damaged countless lives because of unfounded tales of mass abuse. The professionals who deal with children have learnt a lot from it, thankfully, and now know how not to lead children into creating tales that confirm the interviewer’s beliefs. There are, however, far too many amateurs unwilling to learn anything, who happily fall for fantasies that align with their prejudices.

As an indicator of how far-fetched SRA is, not-friend of Spinneyhead, long-time fantasist, petty bigot, and, now, convicted harasser of the judiciary, Richard Carvath has staked his non-existent reputation on pushing it. It definitely made me uneasy about the premise of Solstice, that it could be getting too close to the beliefs of folks like him.

The final nail in Solstice’s coffin was an event last year, when Carvath’s latest bigot-crush travelled to Wales to kidnap a child at knife point, only being caught several hundred miles away. The child, of course, was allegedly a victim of SRA. A different reason, but so close to the plot of Solstice that it made me uncomfortable.

Luckily, no-one was hurt during the kidnap. But it’s too short a step from rescuing children from Satanists (or lizards, or whatever) to deciding they’re so corrupted that the only way to save their souls is to kill them. As the details came out about the event, I decided I no longer wanted to have a book out there that could, even slightly, feed into the SRA fantasy. I don’t want to have accidentally written a Turner Diaries for kidnappers.

So, Solstice is gone from the Rain & Bullets series, and is no longer available. You can, however, still buy my other books, and those of Garth Owen.


Flashback- Time Trumps

As the Trump presidency tumbles down in its final days, I thought you’d like a trip back to a more innocent time, when I wrote this piece of silliness in anticipation of the orange one’s inauguration.

Hopefully, the Biden inauguration will go off without a hitch. But Trump is going to be furious if it gets higher ratings than his. Which is likely, given his efforts to turn it into a racist version of White House Down.

January 20th 2017

It happened just as President elect Donald J Trump went off script whilst swearing his oath of office. A figure appeared from nowhere, gun hand outstretched toward The Donald, finger already pulling the trigger.

She had come from the future, her mission- to kill the President before, on January 25th, he nuked Latvia to prove the country’s Prime Minister wrong and show that his fingers were long enough to press the atomic button.

Even before the bullet had left, she was joined by dozens, maybe hundreds of other assassins. With everything from lasers all the way down to clubs, each of them had come back with a specific mission- eliminate Trump before he could carry out the action that blighted their particular future.

It was one of the lasers, by an almost immeasurable fraction of a second, that got the job done. Which triggered the second wave of temporal assassins. These were dedicated to cutting down Mike Pence before he could institute his plans for homosexual re-education camps and sexuality snooping.

Into the middle of this already confused mess came a pair of twenty-second century Men’s Rights Activists. Angry at the unfair advantages equal wages gave females and the sissification inherent in paternity leave, they had decided to travel back and kill the first female President. Incompetence had shunted them sideways as well as backwards, but they never found that out, as they were burnt to a crisp by one of the many flamethrowers present.

With so many bodies and temporal anomalies overlapping, a critical mass was formed. A gore explosion was followed by collapses in the fourth dimension. Time went crazy.

Washington is now the flickering city, to look at it is to watch a jump cut time-lapse of the city’s past and possible futures. Buildings and people appear and flash away randomly, as the time-line tries to knit itself back together.

The inauguration was ground zero, but the effects have radiated out, and there are pockets of temporal instability all over the world. There are pockets where you can step into the past and pull people and things back. The USA is currently being run by the dream team of Kennedy and Lincoln, snatched up just before their assassinations.

It’s a crazy world, ripe for adventures and wacky hijinks. Annoyingly, I can’t think of any silly stories to tell in it right now.


The attempted coup will be Tweeted

Soon-to-be-former-President Trump is currently failing bigly to overturn the result of the US election. Which is good, because there were times earlier this year when I thought we were living through the prequel to one of my novels.

Sounds of Soldiers was started on November 1st 2008. Whilst not stated explicitly in the story, the back-story was that McCain and Palin won the election, McCain keeled over from the stress, and the (then) worst person imaginable became President of the USA. The culture/civil war that ensued affected the rest of the world, as US troops ran amok in Europe.

Luckily, Obama and Biden won in 2008, and it wasn’t until 2016 that the US got its worst President ever.

Sounds of Soldiers wasn’t finished during NaNoWriMo 2008, as planned. But I wrapped it up in 2009, and published it in 2010. It remains one of my favourites of the books I’ve published, and is available in paperback or for Kindle from Amazon, or- if you don’t want Bezos to get any more money- you can find it on Smashwords and other online book shops.


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.


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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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A Death In Didsbury – 30

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.
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A Death In Didsbury – 29

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.
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