Signed books and posters. Get ’em while they’re hot!

I’ve just had another delivery of Rise of the Wolf paperbacks, and still have 5 or 6 posters left from the short run I did. So if you fancy a signed copy of any of the books and/or a poster, just email me at stormwatch1977@hotmail.com!

£6 per poster including P+P (£7 worldwide)

£12 per signed book including P+P (£13 worldwide)

If you want more than one thing, P+P will be much cheaper. I posted a full set of books and a poster – all signed – the other day and it was only £2.80 postage, which is the same as it is for ONE of the items! Silly Post Office prices…

Don’t forget to sign up for my Mailing List – I just gave away a free signed poster there and more free, signed goodies will follow, especially once my new novella, Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil comes out this winter! Might have some exciting news about that too, shortly…

robin hood poster

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Slayer – Repentless. TOO brutal?

No, this has nothing to do with history, since it’s about a brand new music video but it DOES have something to do with my writing and art in general.

I just bought the new Slayer album. Everyone knows I’m a huge metal fan – I never stop talking about it. I even mentioned the death metal band Nile in my novella Knight of the Cross. I listen to black metal when I’m writing my books because it helps me concentrate.

Slayer have been one of my favourite bands for about 25 years. But…I really don’t like their new video for the song “Repentless”. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the song – it harks back to their Golden Age around the time of the South of Heaven album in the late 80’s in my opinion. But the video…well, watch it for yourself.

I think it’s way too graphic. WAY too graphic.

A guy getting his throat cut. Another with an assailant’s fingers in his eye-sockets. A beheading.

And at the end of it, we’re left saying, WTF? What was that all about? There’s no point to it, no story, no hidden meaning to explore (as far as I can tell anyway). It’s just senseless, very graphic violence.

But…my little rant here might be surprising to anyone that’s read my books. Quite a few reviewers have commented favourably on my ability to write a good fight scene. “Brutal, bloody, brilliant!” was how one guy described my latest novel, Rise of the Wolf. Indeed, I don’t shy away from describing someone having a finger lopped off, or a sword in the face and I never will. Violence is a fact of life and it plays a big part in my books. robin hood novels

So why do I find this Slayer video so distasteful?

I think writing is a VERY different medium to film, ultimately. In a book, an author can describe a scene – any scene, not just a violent one – but the reader has the choice whether to really READ it or just skim over it. In film you don’t have that option. You can turn away from the screen, sure, but then you miss whatever’s happening and a chunk of the scene is gone. Film leaves nothing to the imagination.

In a book, if you skim over a section, you can still paint the picture of what’s happening in your head. You don’t lose the place, you just come up with your own idea of what’s going down, don’t you? In other words, almost every scene is open to interpretation.

I never thought about this until tonight when I watched the “Repentless” video. A novel is a much more immersive experience for someone because much of it is down to the reader’s own imagination. Nothing is on a plate for you – you have to conjure the images for yourself, no matter how descriptive the author’s writing is. Film, on the other hand, is utterly graphic and unforgiving. You WILL see what the director wants you to see, whether you like it or not. There’s no filter; you can’t skim over that guy having his throat cut.

I think that’s why books are so amazing. The best ones don’t just TELL you what’s happening, they work WITH you to create a world that’s yours as much as it is the author’s but they also allow you to avoid things you don’t really want to see. Or is that just me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, but please, DO buy the new Slayer album, whether you like the video or not – it’s a fantastic record and well worth your cash!

The Christmas Devil extract

This is from my work-in-progress Friar Tuck novella The Christmas Devil which will be available to pre-order in November. Here, an old peasant has come home to find a devil/demon is in his house. The neighbours have gathered and one has sent his faithful old dog into the peasant’s house to investigate but things have gone quiet…

“It’s your house.”

Ivor nodded bravely, squaring his shoulders and hauling himself up to full height. It was his house right enough – he should be first inside.

One of the men offered him a short club and he took it with a grim nod of thanks then stepped forward to grasp the door handle. He could hear nothing from inside and his imagination conjured the most hideous demons, picturing them tearing James’s poor dog apart with terrific yet silent violence.

He drew a deep breath, hefted the length of wood he’d been given and reached a hand forward to push the door open wide enough for him to follow the hound inside.

Before he could touch the iron latch though, a great black shape appeared, pushing its hellish body hard against him and, with a scream of terror Ivor fell backwards, arms flailing, onto the snow-covered grass, trying to use his elbows and feet to drag himself away from the satanic presence that had hauled its loathsome carcass from his home.

The near-hysterical laughter of his fellow villagers brought him backto his senses though. It was no devil that had burst forth and attacked him; it was the dog, and it was currently doing a shit in the snow right beside him much to the amusement of the gathered locals.

James came forward, peering inside the doorway, and waved a hand dismissively.

“There’s nothing there. Whatever made those hoofprints is gone; the place is empty.”

Rise of the Wolf posters are here!

Anyone fancy a Rise of the Wolf poster for their wall?

robin hood

Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would be interested so I initially only ordered a couple of these to give away as little prizes to readers. Then a dozen or so of my Facebook followers said they’d like one so…I ordered a few more. If you would like one, and will actually put it on your wall (as opposed to hide it in a drawer!) let me know.

UK orders will be just £6 INCLUDING POSTAGE AND A WEE TUBE TO PACK IT IN (I hope – not been to the post office to check the postage costs yet). Worldwide should only be an extra £1 onto that.

If you’re mad enough to want it signed, I will of course do that for no extra cost. Already done a couple already actually!

In other news, I finished the first draft of my Friar Tuck novella, The Christmas Devil, last night. It should be good. Look out for the pre-order this November!

Soldier of Fortune: The Wolf Cub by David Pilling

Here’s another Robin Hood author taking a look at a different period in history with his new book. David Pilling is something of an expert on Hood so I was very pleased to find out he was a fan of my work.

I read his new book,  The Wolf Cub and liked it so much I gave it a five star review on Amazon (where it’s currently at number 2 in the historical fantasy chart).

If you’re stuck for something to read you should really check out David’s work, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. I recommend starting with The Wolf Cub as it kicks off what should be an excellent series!

Click the cover art to find out more

Robin Hood

We share a cover artist too…

1453 AD. The great city of Constantinople, last remnant of the once-mighty Roman Empire, falls to the Ottoman armies of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

An English knight named Sir John Page is taken prisoner by the Ottomans, and forced to entertain the Sultan with tales of the West. Page chooses to tell the story of his own long career as a soldier of fortune in France, Bohemia and the Italian city-states.

Page’s tale begins in the year of Agincourt, Henry V’s famous victory over the French. As the bastard son of Thomas Page, a famous mercenary captain known as The Half-Hanged Man or The Wolf of Burgundy, Page soon acquires the nickname of The Wolf Cub.

After slaying his cousin in a duel, Page flees his home and joins a band of outlaws in the forests of Sussex. At last – tired of the brutality of his companions – he decides to leave England and join the English army in Normandy. There he endures brutal sieges, vicious combats, torture, betrayal and imprisonment, all to win glory and redeem his father’s name.

Trapped in the Sultan’s prison, Page must hope his story is enough to save him from the executioner’s blade….at least for another three days…

robin hood fiction

Click on David’s pic to take a look at his website!