Monday, 23 November 2009

Update - latest publications and Editorial Credits

Dear All,

Since the summer there haven't been enough hours in the day. Official. Hence my silence on the blog front. Anyway this is an update to let you know what I've been up to the last few months. Some quite exciting things have been happening in the writing world which have been keeping me very busy.

But the most exciting news of all...

I've been very fortunate to be working as editor with actor Frazer Hines on his autobiography, Hines Sight.

Frazer's book is a beautiful, emotive and candid look at his celebrity and private life, covering his years as Patrick Troughton's companion Jamie in Doctor Who, as well as his many years in Emmerdale Farm as the UK's favourite son, Joe Sugden. The book explores Frazer's lives, loves and the loss of loved ones throughout the years.

Originally published in paperback by Boxtree in 1996 as Films, Farms and Fillies, Frazer's story has now been re-edited with some additional stories and revelations and is now available for the first time as a stunning hardback.

Copies of the book can be ordered immediately from or from all major bookstores (ISBN is 978-1-84583-998-7). However if you want a dedicated and signed copy this can only be purchased direct from the website.

This superb book will be available by 11th December, however if you're in the UK and want a copy for a Christmas present then order NOW! We will endeavour to get all orders received before 11th December posted out in time for Christmas (assuming we don't encounter any delays along the way).

That's it for now, but look out for more updates soon.

Friday, 25 September 2009


FantasyCon was hosted by the BFS (British Fantasy Society) last week end at the Britannia Hotel, Nottingham.

Unfortunately David and I couldn't be there the whole weekend, so we arrived on Saturday and set up the Telos Publishing table in the dealers room for a few hours. Telos was selling just three lines this time and that was Taboo Breakers (Calum Waddell), Silver Scream 1 (Steven Warren Hill) and It Lives Again (Axelle Carolyn).

Terry Martin, my publisher at The House of Murky Depths was on a table opposite and so we utilised both tables to promote my books at well. With the Sam Stone Banner behind the Telos Table where I sat with David. Murky Depths had their most successful weekend to date, with booksales and subscriptions reaching record levels.

Soon after we arrived we had to go to our panel, 'Dead Good, or Just Dead', which was in the main room. The other panellist were David Howe (Moderating), Steve Erikson (Fantasy Writer Malazan Series), Me, Adam Neville (Erotic Fiction Editor for Excited Books) and Raven Dane, (Author of the Dark Kind Series). The panel kicked off with an exploration of the current vampire phenomenon, discussing the success of Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries - and TV Series True Blood), Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter) and of course Stephanie Meyer (Twilight). The idea behind the panel was to discuss what makes Vampire fiction so successful and was this recent upsurge in book sales going to peak. Interesting views were given from all concerned with some fascinating observations on the publishing industry from Adam and what sells.

Following the panel, a variety of different people came to see me and bought copies of Killing Kiss and Futile Flame. We sold out of all of the first editon of Killing Kiss and this has now gone to re-print. Second editions are now available shortly and can be placed at the Murky Depths website.

Saturday afternoon was spent in the dealers room meeting people and networking. But at 3pm I had to go and meet with Ian Whates, editor of NewCon Press, to talk sign the inserts for the limited edition hardback copy of The Bitten Word, which is being launched next year at World Horror Con. At this point I sat chatting with the endearing horror author Simon Clark, a true gentleman. We put the world to rights - having tremendous fun talking about writing and the editing process while we scribbled our names on the sheets.

Later that afternoon, I met the charismatic and approachable Gail Z Martin ; author of The Chronicles of the Necromancer Fantasy series, whose short fiction will also feature in The Bitten Word. Gail said that it is unusual for her to write short stories, she's predominately a novellist like me. I'm looking forward to spending more time with her at WHC2010 next year.

The afternoon led to Stephen Jones' Mammoth Book of Horror Launch and a re-issue of his Mammoth Book of Werewolves (which sadly sold out before I could snaffle one!!).

In the evening David and I went out with Terry for a curry but when we returned to the hotel, we sat in the bar all evening and chatted to some great people. Thanks to Steve Lockley who was a mine of information about the Welsh Writers' Database Academi on which I am now included.

Congratulations to the BFS Team for once again creating a fantastic weekend. It was extremely well organised and there was a lovely welcoming atmosphere all weekend.

Short and brief I know... but much more to follow along with the few photo's we managed to snap that weekend.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Bitten Word!

NewCon Press are producing a new anthology which includes a story by yours truly as well as some very well known contributors.

The Bitten Word is a collection of vampire stories by some of the top names in horror writing today.

Contributors in alphabetical order are:
Kelley Armstrong
Chaz Brenchley
Simon Clark
Storm Constantine
Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Andrew Hook
John Kaiine
Nancy Kilpatrick
Tanith Lee
Gail Z Martin
Gary McMahon
Donna Scott
Sarah Singleton
Kari Sperring
Sam Stone
Freda Warrington
Ian Whates

There is also a bonus story by Ian Watson!

This will be launched at World Horror Con in Brighton in 2010.

NewCon will not only be publishing this exceptional collection in paperback, but there will also be a limited editon hardback as well. All the hardbacks will be numbered and signed by the contributors.

Look out for my story, 'Fool's Gold' in The Bitten Word next year!

Further updates to follow ...

Thursday, 6 August 2009

In Manchester This Weekend!

Hi All,

An impromptu opportunity arose this week which means I will be at a Golden Orbit event.

This takes place at Sachas Hotel, Tib Street, Manchester. 12-4.30pm.

If you want to join me there, you'll find me at the Murky Depths stand. Copies of Killing Kiss and Futile Flame will be available to purchase as well as the much acclaimed quarterly magazine Murky Depths.

Hope to see you this weekend.

Sam xxx

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Signing Successes!


On 4th July saw David, Terry and I were at Borders, Oxford Street, London.

I arrived to a fabulous welcome from the events manager Mark and I found I had a table on the first floor right in front of the escalators. It was a very good spot. Borders is a massive store; there were thousands of people milling around that day.

We stayed a few hours and sold some books and then later on left a stock of signed copies to be put out on the shelves.

A few days later Mark told me that the stock had almost sold out! So that was a brilliant result.


Last weekend we were in Waterstones in Bury, Lancashire and this was a really surprising venue.

The bookstore is situated in the Union Arcade Mall, in the centre of the relatively small town of Bury. Bury itself has all of the high street shops but it is nevertheless on a very small scale.

Bury is a local venue for me because I lived in the area for most of my life. I did expect some people to turn up to the signing that I knew but nothing could prepare me for the waiting queue when I arrived. Several people said they had heard about the book. One was a teacher from a local high school, who told me that he'd heard his students talking about me and the books and had incidently come across the advertising to say I'd be there. Others told me that friends and relatives had read the first one and had recommended it.

It was terrific to talk to so many charming and interesting people.

We were time tabled in at Waterstones for only an hour but ended up staying a little longer because of the interest.The sales exceeded our expectations. And Waterstones was pleased too. Just before we left the Assistant Manager told me that she thought it was a very successful signing and that it 'had been better than most'. She also invited me to come back when we launch Book 3 - which I most certainly will, because the staff made us feel extremely welcome.

I've always know Bury to be full of lovely people and it was nice to go home and feel so warmly received again.

Here's a selection of other pictures from the event.

London Launch

Futile Flame Launch

As you know we launched Futile Flame Book 2 of The Vampire Gene Series on Friday 3rd of July. The event was extremely well attended.

At the start of the evening David and I arrived early at The George, Fleet Street, London and were given access to the venue's private room immediately. Terry Martin the MD of The House of Murky Depths had yet to arrive and I was all jittery and nervous, because I hadn't even seen a hard copy of the book yet.

Writing a novel in many ways is like giving birth; there is a lot of pain and agony involved in the process but for all the months of stress, you produce a baby that you love. Like all mothers I wanted to see my offspring for the first time, and also I hoped fervently that it was liked and even loved by others as well. So, I was pleased when a rather stressed Terry arrived (he'd been stuck in peak-time traffic in London centre) and boy did he need a long drink!

The books were brought up and displayed and immediately I scrutinised a copy, gulping down a large glass of white wine in a state of nervous agitation. Lots of worries were in my mind. Will anyone attend? Will we sell any copies? Will the critics like the second book, or will they think I've peaked too early on the first? It's quite a dilemma.

Suddenly people began to pour in. Some I knew and had hoped would attend, but lots of faces I didn't know. Several people came over, examined the book and stopped by to talk to me.

The event was hosted by the British Fantasy Society (BFS) and was being held with a Torchwood Writers' panel. So I ask a few of the new faces, have you come for the Torchwood Event and they said 'No, we came to see you!' I was completely bowled over.

More people arrived. David made an announcement and explained a little about the books and the event followed by Martin Roberts from the BFS, then it was over to me to say a few words about the books. Finally Terry expressed his pleasure in the new book and then there was a rush of sales. Luckily I'd brought a great red pen with me and I wrote personalised messages for everyone who asked.

The evening progressed with the arrival of some of my friends from the Doctor Who circuit, who I regularly see at the London Tavisode or spent time with at Gallifrey in LA in February. As well as David and I's lovely friend Ellie who brought along some other friends. Celebrity appearances involved writers such as Robert Shearman, Simon Messingham, Suzanne Barbieri, Adam Nevil (and watch out for him because he's just signed an amazing book deal with Pan Macmillan).

Within the Torchwood celebs were Andrew Cartmel, Mark Morris, Joe Lidster, Sarah Pinborough and Guy Adams.

Here's a selection of other pictures from the night.

Overall, I think my editor, Terry Martin, was extremely pleased with the launch sales and so the launch of Futile Flame had a very positive start.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Katie & Peter Stateside

Ok. I admit it. Sometimes I can't help watching car crash TV.

Last night I couldn't resist the urge to watch Peter Andre and Katie Price (Jordan)battle it out in their stateside show. And what a disaster it is. In fairness to Peter he comes over as a really nice, caring and genuine man. He's struggling to make a sufficient musical comeback, and from what I heard of his new album he will have every opportunity to do so; it's brilliant! The music was heartfelt, evocative and very, very appealing.

But Katie - oh my. A self-confessed negative person. She would drive me completely crazy if I was married to her. She constantly puts Peter down, she's rude, she's cold and she has not even a drop of humour in her entire (skinny to the point of anorexia) body.

Why did he put up with it we ask ourselves? Perhaps it is because he really loved her - as he said; or maybe poor Peter is a masochist. We may never understand this fascination with such an abusive, controlling personality.

But who cares.

The 'whys' and 'wherefores' don't really matter. What matters is that this kind of television show, AKA 'Celebrity reality' is undeniably fascinating for a lot of people. And why? Because we're human and we can't help enjoying other people's misery. Whether it is because you relate it to your own failing relationships or whether you cringe and say, 'thank God, my life is nothing like that.' The average person can feel superior. One thing's for sure this lifestyle is so far removed from the 'norm' we can't really identify with it.

Katie Price is famous for being famous and having a very big (fake) chest. We know this - so what? One thing we mustn't ever do though is under-estimate her. Ms Price is a hard-headed business woman and she doesn't care who gets burnt in her endless attraction to publicity. Couple that with her obviously fake emotions for all around her and you have a ... As one person put it on my Facebook page 'her eyes are like a corpse' - that equates to 'dead' to me.

There are too many differences between Katie and Peter to ever make their relationship work. The first is that Katie only thinks of her own happiness. When dealing with her son, Harvey, Katie often stated her wishes above his. 'Mummy is walking away... Mummy is leaving ... Mummy needs a kiss' It was all about her. And the emotion she displayed was zilch ...

Andre in opposition to this addresses Harvey's needs. 'Bye Harvey ... see you Harvey ... By using Harvey's name, Peter was not making himself the important person. - It wasn't about Andre - it was about Harvey. Unlike his mother who only thinks of herself.

Furthermore, Peter had an evening of friends, family and important people listening to his new album - do you think Jordan played the supportive wife? Hell no. Predictably she whined about being tired,showed only an emotionless interest in his music and promptly fell asleep as he was talking.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned - but this isn't love to me.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Book Sales through the roof!

Hi All,

Thanks so much for your support! The first edition of Killing Kiss is almost sold out and the publishing house has informed me they are going to do a second edition run.

Pre-orders for Futile Flame have exceeded expectations.

Don't forget that if you want a signed copy then I'll be at Borders, Oxford Street, London on 4th July 2009 from 12pm. And also at Waterstones, Bury, Lancashire on 11th July at 2.30 to 3.30pm.

Or if you want to take this last opportunity to obtain a first edition copy of either book - place your order now at Murky Depths! You can even request that it's signed and personalised to you!

Otherwise - I'll see you at the book store.

Sam x

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

BORDERS - Futile Flame Signing

Hi All,

for your information here is the Borders link for the 4th July event.

Hope to see you there!

Sam x

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Futile Flame Launch - Update

I'm absolutely over the moon to announce that The Vampire Gene Series is coming to Borders in Oxford Street, London.

I will be in store on Saturday 4th July 2009 to sign copies of Killing Kiss and the newly born Futile Flame from 12 - 4pm.

So, if you can't make the BFS Launch on Friday 3rd July, or even if you're planning on staying in London overnight, then please come and join me at Borders. It will be great to see anyone who can make it along.

The nearest Tube to the bookstore is Oxford Street.

Sam x

Monday, 1 June 2009

Futile Flame London Launch

Futile Flame (Book 2 of The Vampire Gene Series) will be launching on Friday July 3rd 2009 at the BFS Open Night.

The House of Murky Depths will be launching Futile Flame and I will be there to sign any copies.

The evening will begin at 7.30pm for a discussion and signing with Torchwood Writers followed by Futile Flame's launch at 8.30pm.

Don't panic if you don't already have Killing Kiss (Book 1) as these will also be on sale.

For full details of the event click here British Fantasy Society .

Otherwise, turn up at The George, Fleet Street, London at around 7pm for a fun night.

See you there.

Sam x

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Dream

The dream
Was of flying and sometimes
Of crumbling teeth, falling
Like tumbling towers;
A world destroyed.

Freud would have a field day ...

I dreamed of home.
The time before adulthood –
It was time to grow up.
My adult mind remembers the lack
Of responsibility

Yet it still cries out for freedom ...

Now I fly again in dreams:
A supernatural with lead wings,
The enemy almost reaching up
High enough with grabbing claws
As I swoop away.

The old adage that signifies a need to run ...

Children in a classroom,
Not doing what they should
This, at least, I can equate to reality.
The day job. Life.
Fear of losing control.

It’s all so obvious I’m stressed ...

And so, the dream makes my
Perplexed and anxious mind
Create stories, bizarre and confused.
This, to relieve the
strain of thinking.

Or so we are told ...

Sam Stone

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Star Trek

Yesterday I went to see the new Star Trek film.

Well, this is the deal ... killer special effects but that didn't necessarily mean that this would be a good film. What it did mean though was that an incredibly well written script was supported by a huge budget. The effect was electric.

The Plot
Opening up immediately into action, we quickly learn that the USS Kelvin is in danger from a Romulan ship. On board is a brilliantly cast and likeable captain played by Faran Tahir and his second in command is George Kirk - soon to be father of James T Kirk. The Romulan Captain, Nero (Eric Bana), is on a vengence mission and looking for Spock. He rapidly disables the Kelvin, murders the captain and leaves George Kirk in charge. Kirk begins a rapid evacuation and then the worst happens. The Romulans fire again and the autopilot is damaged. Kirk realises he has to sacrifice his life in order to save the crew, his wife and his unborn child.

We were less than ten minutes in, and - I admit - I cried my eyes out as George Kirk died soon after his wife gave birth. And that is saying something. I really don't cry easily at films. But what the director had achieved here, in conjunction with the writer, was an incredibily believable and likeable crew, which was also extremely well cast. All credit must go to them. They established the characters so well and so quickly, you'd have to be inhuman not to be emotionally engaged.

From then on, it was one long thrill after another. The plot was never sacrificed for action (which often happens with modern films). I was on the edge of my seat all the way through. It blew me away so much that I didn't even mind the obvious paradox of both Spocks being in the same time and place later on.

Fans of the original Star Trek series (like myself) will love the humour and use of the typical character taglines all the way through. Sulu gets to fence, Scottie gets to say 'Dilithium' and Spock gets a 'Live long and prosper'.


I would never have thought in a million years that I'd actually accept anyone else as Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Chekov and Zulu ... never mind Simon Pegg as Scotty! That really was a surprise (and he lived the part too!)

Zachary Quinto (Heroes' villian, Sylar) was so completely Spock that I completely forgot he used to laser people's brains out in Heroes.

Chris Pine as Kirk? Oh yes! It certainly worked for me.

And the rest of the cast gelled so perfectly that I didn't even think about the original crew until later. Of course it was really great to see Scotty 'beam' people up and tell us that he 'cannie' get more out of the engines, when we all knew he would. But even that element of predictability was great.

Overall - 10/10 from me. An absolutely amazing and entertaining film.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Waterstones signing Futile Flame

Date for your diary...

Futile Flame(The Vampire Gene Book II) will be available on July 11th 2009


Level 1, 142 Mill Gate Shopping Centre, Town Centre, Bury
Tel: 0161 764 2642

Copies of Killing Kiss will also be on sale so don't worry if you haven't managed to buy a copy yet.

I'll be there from 2.30pm - 3.30pm to sign any copies you purchase on the day.

Hope to see you there!

Sam x

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Remake Films

Do you know that feeling when you've seen too many crappy remake films?

This week I saw the new Halloween remake movie and if you've ever seen it, you'll know exactly what I'm saying.

Although it has to be said that I had never heard of Rob Zombie before and I haven't seen any of his previous films. I didn't have any concept of his work or directing style. So, having come to the film with no previous impressions I watched Halloween Unrated - Director's Cut with an open mind. I was totally unimpressed.

I know this was 2007 and I'm a little behind the times but originally it didn't appeal to me for obvious reasons. How can anyone dare to imagine they can do any film better than John Carpenter? Although I could see how he had tried to improve on it.

This film went into the background of Michael Myers in depth. An interesting concept; but unfortunately this prior information worked against the fear element of the story. It was a little hard to be scared, when you knew exactly who was under the mask. It lost the psychological element and surprises of the first film.

The other problem I had with the film was that mostly it was little more than a slasher/torture porn movie. It was filled with scenes of naked, injured women crawling on all fours. Obviously a fetish of someone on the production team - maybe Mr Zombie himself - but frankly, after the first killing, the viewer becomes desensitised and after that the constant killing scenes ran into each other and it became totally boring.

There were however some great things in it. Malcolm McDowell was brilliant in his role as Myers' psychiatrist. Daeg Faerch was an impressive and convincing young Myers and Sheri Moon Zombie was great as Myers' lap-dancing, loving mother.

I found the ending to be completely unsatifactory. It decended into an abstract chase through the old Myers' house, chasing after, what I sort of gathered was Myers' younger sister Laurie Strode - it seems she was adopted by another couple after her mother killed herself.

Malcolm McDowell apparently has his eyes gouged out, but then magically looks up at Myers and grabs his leg - yeah right.

The ending went for full-on blood and gore, Laurie was a bloody mess by the end. By then I was completely switched off and had switched on my laptop to do somehting better.

But I must add, that after watching the movie, we looked at the special features and there was a little gem among them - an alternative ending. The alternative was far more emotive, explained the motivation of Myers' behaviour better but had less gore.(It was shorter too, which had far more impact than constantly trying to crank up the tension).

So, Mr Zombie - I have to refer to some of the most successful and terrifying films of the past. Remember The Changling ,(1980) The Legend of Hell House,(1973), The Amityville Horror (1979), Rosemary's Baby, (1968)to name but a few. All of these films held something that the latest Halloween lacked - they played on the mind of their audience.

The old adage, which is still amazingly relevant, even in our society of producing 'shock' movies. Less is more ...

Overall verdict therefore for this movie - boring, boring, boring.

I'd like to see a return of decent scripts to be honest, action does not necessarily equal good viewing - but strong plot with twists and turns, that aren't predictable usually works best for me.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

What new writers need to know - Part 4. -

As you know social networking sites have their place and are a very good way of making new friends. This can also be an excellent way of connecting with other professionals and building a fan base.

I've talked about several of these sites as I'm sure you'll remember. Myspace, facebook and twitter are among the ones I use.

If you've recently had a book published or if you have one that's due to be launched you should consider joining Goodreads is a social networking site that is dedicated to fiction and non-fiction books. It is inhabited by people who are interested in reading, like to leave reviews and take recommendations on new novels.

The first step ...
Open up a profile, search for your own book(s)and then click on the button at the top which asks you if you are the author. It's a fairly simple process to verify your I.D. with goodreads and you can then begin to build a friends list among people who actually read. That in itself is worth being a member for.

But be warned! I've found that even on this site there are still people who like to send solicitous emails. Usually from European men looking for an English wife! On the whole I ignore them, though occasionally have been driven to give a piece of my mind. I usually do this by pointing out that I am using an 'author' profile, that I am a 'professional person' and 'I'm very much taken. Please don't write again ...'

Don't let this put you off though, because this is a pitfall that I've experienced on all of the sites at sometime or other anyway. If you're female - make your position known immediately. I now have it plainly written on my profile that I don't welcome emails of this nature and it's stopped happening (so clearly people DO read on goodreads).

I'm sure that the same thing happens to any men as well, I just haven't heard about it - but I'd be very interested to know if it has!!!

My advice, for what it's worth, give goodreads a chance if you want to expand your fanbase and let me know if you've found any other sites that you think are good for this too.

Good luck!

Sam x

But don't let this put you off. It's like I said initially, goodreads is a really great site for promoting your work.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

EasterCon LX

Just a reminder that I will be attending EasterCon LX in Bradford Easter weekend. (10th-13th April 2009.)

This takes place at the Cedar Hotel, Bradford.

I will be taking part in panels on Saturday so I hope you will have time to call in. The rest of the time David and I will be found floating around the venue.

In the dealer's room Murky Depths will have a table selling copies of Killing Kiss and taking orders for Futile Flame, which should be available in June.

For further details of the events, membership and booking log onto the link below.

EasterCon LX

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Did I mention ...?

I've been house hunting recently and I've learnt it is a mine field: one wrong step and boom!

There is a lot of legislation out there that make it very difficult for genuine buyers to buy.

One of the worst situations I've come across is falling in love with a house that was repossessed. (Which in itself left me in a quandary - because I'm aware it means someone else couldn't afford to keep it and lost it!)

Like any buyer I put in a bid to buy and the bid was accepted. Then the estate agents decided to tell me that because the house was repossessed it meant that anyone could come and bid more, effectively gazump you, right up to the day you exchange contracts. Obviously this means that you could lose money on solicitors fees, surveys and searches. But that is completely within the law because the house is repossessed. All the time this is going on, the previous owner, as well as the banks, are out of pocket. The property sits empty, and the estate agents can keep traipsing people through your potential home.

The honesty of the agent is also an issue. They seem to play one person against the other - or did in my case. This is because they are not working for the buyer, but the vendor, and the bigger the sale price the better their percentage.

Naturally, I was gazumped and invited several times to keep upping my bid, but it was all some game that I didn't want to play.

I walked away from it. I can't be bothered with nonsense like that.

To be fair, there are a million houses on the market, and I have my pick as the buyer, so what it the point of stressing over one house?

Anyway - the next one I saw was going to auction and that is an equal nightmare! YOU not the VENDOR get CHARGED to buy a house. So if you buy for £150,000 then the auction house will ADD £15,000 for their trouble.

Does that seem fair? Clearly I'm having NONE of that either.

So, that option is out. Now I'm looking at houses in a popular seaside resort; and there's plenty, but most of them need a considerable amount of work.

Like I said, it's a mine field.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Jade Goody.

I just thought I'd copy and paste this blog written by my teenage daughter. It says it all about the recently grotesque media coverage of the death of Jade Goody.

While I agree that her death has raised awareness for Cervical Cancer, I can't help thinking that this is an extremely horrific situation for her children. I believe there are better ways than this to bring the issue to the public eye that would not be exploiting someone in a vulnerable position.

So - Here's Linzi's blog.

Jade Goody and why I'm pissed off.
Today at 17:13

I'm probably gonna get so much shit for writing this.

Right, I got an invite to an R.I.P Jade Goody face book group which had the message: 'PLEASE IF YOU HAVE A HEART INVITE EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO THIS GROUP. THE MORE PEOPLE THERE ARE THE MORE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT CERVICAL CANCER.' I rejected the invite.

Why? Multiple reasons. Jade Goody was a loudmouth nobody who got famous for being a loudmouth nobody. I have to hand it to her, she knew how to keep herself in the spotlight and milk it for all it was worth. The past few weeks, however, have been vile. I did NOT want to see Jade Goody's slow death documented by countless magazines and newspapers. I know I have a schaudenfreud sense of humour but fuck, I don't want to see someone die. The fact that her publicist Max Clifford and Jade Goody herself were shoving it down my throat didn't help her gain a sympathy vote off me. She claimed she wanted a quiet last few days until she died but it seemed to me that she was still everywhere which honestly pissed me off.

Don't get me wrong. She died and it's sad. On the plus side she's helped women become more aware of cervical cancer and how to prevent it. More women are going for smear tests. However I don't agree with her shoving countless stories of herself and her poor kids (who must have been traumatized enough by their mother dying without people shoving fucking cameras in their faces) into the media.

Why does Jade Goody get the front page on newspapers? What about all the other people who are dying or have died of cancer? I understand she helped with cancer awareness but what about Iraq? Global Warming? People starving to death or dying of diseases in Africa?

Why is the death of Jade Goody so much more important then the deaths of countless other people?

Again it's sad and I don't hate her or anything. I just can't get my head around the fact that she gets so much attention when there are other people suffering.

Rant over.

Enough said. I'm a very proud parent tonight.(swear words aside ...)

Your opinion as always is very welcome.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Pre-Order Futile Flame

You can now pre-order Futile Flame from

Log onto the site - look in the Murky shop. Choose paperbacks.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Futile Flame Update

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Futile Flame has been delayed and will not be available at EasterCon as planned. Those of you in the publishing industry will undoubtedly understand that these things happen.

I am, naturally, very disappointed but have to accept the situation.

However, here is the preview of the cover of the book.

Pre-ordering should be available very soon on and Amazon as the novel does already have an ISBN number.

ISBN: 978-1-906584-08-5

Also, I will be attending EasterCon on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th April. Signed copies of Killing Kiss will be available and I'm sure you will also be able to pre-order Futile Flame at the same time.

Hope you aren't too disappointed at this delay, but the book will most certainly be available by June.

Sam x

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Gallifrey One

This is a diary of my weekend at the Gallifrey One convention in LA.
Thursday 12th February 2009
I arrived at the Marriott Hotel feeling very jetlagged at 8.30pm LA time. We'd been travelling all day, gone through various time zones and to our body clock it was actually 4.30am. But as we walked in we were greeted by the lovely Steve Roberts and his adorable partner Sue Cowley - who screamed and whooped in delight to see us. It was then we saw all of our British friends and the next few minutes were spent hugging them.

We checked in and went to our room to get changed and came back downstairs as soon as possible, determined to stay up if we could in order to beat jetlag.

I met an array of terrifc people in the bar: Benjamin Adams and his girlfriend Kim Pfeifer; Ed and Jen Comstock and their son Jeremy. All of whom spent many hours with us over the weekend. Then Dan McGrath, our friend from UK, gave me a big hug followed by a fabulous greeting from fellow writer Simon Guerrier. This was an amazing start to the weekend.

My friend, the comics writer Tony Lee, looking suave, was talking to Simon Guerrier and another writer, Rob Shearman, so I floated over and gave everyone a hug.

Eventually tiredness caught up with us and we had to crash, but that was ok, because we had a long day looming for Friday.

Friday 13th February 2009

We met up with friends at breakfast and spent the morning chatting to other convention goers. The convention wasn't officially starting until the opening ceremony at 6pm, but there were several panels from 1pm. There was a panel with Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Adventures writers Phil Ford and Keith Temple at 1pm. Gareth David Lloyd and Kai Owen(Torchwood stars) question and answer session. A classic Doctor Who Panel at 3pm had such acting greats as Colin Baker, Wendy Padbury, Frazer Hines and Nicola Bryant. Followed by a Q & A with Who Producer Phil Collinson and a 'Just a Minute' quiz hosted by Paul Cornell.

This is just a small portion of the talent that appeared on the first day as there were several other panels running back to back with these.

That evening, after the opening ceremony, we went out with our friends for sushi at a little place in Hermosa Beach. It was a lovely meal, and great company.

Unfortunately I had no energy for the late night toga party or the Karaoke Kafe (shame because I love karoke) when we got back to the hotel and we called it a night at around 11pm after more drinks in the bar.

Saturday 14th February 2009.
Valentine's Day.

Saturday was a full day at Gallifrey One. Lots of socialising and attending panels. Here are some pictures of the Telos Publishing 2009 panel, which was a great update of the progress of Telos and their current titles. This was introduced by my partner, David J Howe, Telos' MD and author of over thirty fiction and non-fiction titles. David presented a fantastic trailer for Silver Scream 1, written by Steven Warren Hill (who also created the trailer) and he along with Arnold T Blumberg (Zombimania) and Chris McKeon (Time's Champion - co-written with Craig Hinton) were present to discuss the content and motivations of their books. It was a nice surprise to find in the audience another Telos author, Jon Preddle, who is currently working on Telos' next book, Timelink.

After the panels we set off to Dark Delicacies , a fantastic horror bookstore in Burbank, for a signing at 3.30pm. Ben and Kim drove us to Burbank - which turned out to be an hour away because the traffic was so heavy. Hence we arrived a little late, but that didn't matter too much, as the signing before us 'Strippers with Corpses Magazine', (don't ask - if you think you know what this magazine is about I expect you're right!!) was over-running. Eventually we sat down and the signing commenced. When I left I only had 7 copies of my book remaining which was a great result.

I was signing with David The Target Book, Arnold T Blumberg Zombiemania and Steven Warren Hill Silver Scream 1. Everyone did really well and I believe that all the Telos Publishing books were sold. We also had a very positive conversation with Del, the shop owner, who invited us to return any time we're in LA. Be careful what you wish for Del, I have every intention of returning next year!

Following the signing we made a hair-raising trip back to the convention, I was supposed to be on a panel called 'When did Vampires become Trendy?' But unfortunately the LA traffic foiled us again and I didn't make it back - which was very annoying because Amber Benson (Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) was also on the panel. We arrived back 10 minutes after the panel finished. I couldn't even stroll in 'fashionably late'! So, I was in trouble with Tony Lee (who was on the panel as well) for not appearing - Sorry. I won't do it again, honest.

I had to do a mad dash through the reception then to change for the evening. This was harder than it seemed as I kept seeing people I wanted to talk to and I had my picture taken several times on the way.

It was Valentine's day and so that evening we went to a lovely restaurant in Marina Del Rey with Kim and Ben. Here's a picture of our romantic dessert.

Sunday 15th February 2009

Final full day at Gallifrey. I had a visit from my long standing internet friend J.R. LeMar who joined us for breakfast and then spent several hours with me, keeping me company while David was busy doing panels. This was a great time to socialise again and I spent many hours in the lobby with various people joining us. Tony and Jane Kenealy came and chatted for a while, as did Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury. Also the lovely Ed and Jen, and Kim and Ben briefly, because unfortunately they had to leave that day.

This was a sad day, as a lot of people left the convention early because of work commitments the following day.

Later I briefly commandeered a table in the hallway and sold some more books, and the remaining 7 copies were all gone by the end of the day. It became fashionable (a trend started by the irrepressible Steve Roberts) for me to sign with a lipsticked kiss as an extra convention signature. So there are several personalised copies out there with my lip print adorning the inside!

Sunday night, following the emotional closing ceremony, we went to dinner with Tony and Jane, then returned to the hotel and stayed around socialising with Frazer, Wendy, Ed and Jen, Tony and Jane and Jennifer. This is where we met the lovely Emily Danyel who has taken on David and I to see what we can achieve together and is now our USA Events Manager.

So all in all, Gallifrey was great fun and a huge success! Can't wait for next year ...

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Celebrity Culture

What is your concept of celebrity?

I am too young to remember Marilyn Monroe at the height of her fame; she died a few years before I was born. But Marilyn, and the other Hollywood stars of her time, were the celebrities I grew up with. Hollywood glamour was my concept of 'fame', 'beauty', 'talent' ... and let's face it, you had to have talent to find fame in those days.

I remember being thrilled by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in I Love Lucy; wowed by Howard Keele in an array of musical classics as he sang with a collection of soprano beauties such as Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell, Ava Gardner - my mother adored musicals and we grew up loving them too. Think of the completely brilliant Mario Lanza, and then compare him to today's stars. There's no contest in the talent stakes.

Although I'm not knocking Hollywood, and the Hollywood star system, there are some stars out there worthy of note. I'm particularly partial to Richard Gere. He wears the sophistication of old Hollywood very well.

I'm thinking, however, about the UK's current concept of, and obsession with, 'celebrity'. I was having a chat with someone on twitter this week about this subject and so I thought I'd go out on a limb and just say what annoys me!

The UK red-top media either makes 'stars' out of nobodies, or they systematically destroy the lives of selected targets, especially anyone who seems to be even remotely successful, with their ambiguities and veiled suggestion. And why are they able to do this? The public seem to love it. They digest it. They eat it up because it makes them feel something - but what??? I just can't figure it out.

I had the misfortune to watch some minutes of a certain reality TV programme recently featuring 'so-called' celebrities - it was indeed a 'celebrity' version of the standard show. I simply couldn't find the remote to flick channels quickly enough! The vampire public swallowed it whole, the papers were full of 'news' on the progress. Everytime a celeb flushed their toilet, picked their nose or appeared to have put on weight, it became big news. Elsewhere total non-entities are paraded on the front covers of numerous magazines, all of whom have paid them handsomely for the coverage ... exclusive 'interviews' appear, all of them containing 'shocking' revelations or 'exclusive love life tips' and so on. And then these people complain about the coverage!

Why are we even interested?

Think about the soaps you watch on television. Most soap stars play themselves, or a slight variant thereof, they aren't acting, they are reciting lines. The few UK actors that have genuine talent go to America at the first opportunity. I refer to the likes of the lovely Katherine Zeta Jones, Gary Oldman (a fantastic character actor); all of their successes are well deserved - they have TALENT and deserve some form of kudos. Now, let's look at some others - non-entities from tacky shows like Big Brother - who shall remain nameless so that I don't intentionallly give them more attention, but they are just famous for being famous.

If you made a list of just why people are in the public eye, then often there is a valid and very worthwhile reason: oscar-winning actress; top sportsman; novelist; politician; singer; artist; entrepreneur ... this means they gain 'celebrity' out of what they have achieved through hard work and effort.

I wonder what Paris Hilton puts as her 'reason'? Or 'Katie Price'?

There's just no logic to it.

'Real' celebrities don't have to organise their own media photographer to witness them falling out of taxis drunk. 'Real' talent doesn't have to take drugs and smash up hotel rooms. 'Real' stars don't have to hire PR agencies to spin stories about where they will be to generate media interest. They just turn up there and are incidentally noticed.

I'll leave you with these words:

I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
‘Cuz everyone knows that’s how you get famous

(The Fear - Lilly Allen)

Very apt, don't you think?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Snowing in the UK

This Monday it was a rare treat to have the day off when London was snowed in. This is an unusual occurance for me because in Manchester we get snow quite frequently. Which means it doesn't often cause that much havoc.

In London however, the trains were off. Schools were closed for the day and buses were running on a skeleton service.

I went out for a walk in the afternoon with my boyfriend, everyone was treating the day like an unexpected holiday, and in some respects it was. All along the streets people were building snowmen, and I don't just mean the kids. It was nice to see all the happy smiling faces too. They were really appreciating the time they had extra to spend with the family.

It made me realise what the Christmas/holiday season was all about. I wonder if we were making up for the lack of snow on Christmas day? But also, 2008 was a very difficult year for all, what with the credit crunch and all the stress and strain of daily living, so why not feel an intense relief when you don't have to have your nose to the grindstone for at least one day?

Sometimes when we can't act, when things are taken out of our hands, it gives us an opportunity to relax. After all, if there's nothing you can do, what choice do you have?

Life is stressful. An unexpected holiday, even for a day, probably did everyone a world of good.

As for me, I wrote a short story (almost 5,000 words) that I'd been meaning to tackle. Without other distractions I was able to focus on the task and it was easy.

Which just goes to show what can be done in a day when you aren't worried about other commitments.

So, I'm feeling very chilled and very accomplished right now. How are you feeling?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Signing - Dark Delicacies in LA.

Taking advantage of the fact that I'm in LA for a short time, I'm delighted that those very nice people at the Dark Delicacies store are putting up with me for an afternoon so I can sign copies of Killing Kiss with them.

The signing is at Dark Delicacies on Saturday 14th February, starting at around 3.30pm.

The address is : 4213 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505, USA
Tel: +1 818-556-6660

Anyone who wants a signed copy can reserve one by simply calling the store. Go on ... you know you want to :)

I'll be there signing books and giving away free Demon Lover CD's along with some great authors from Telos Publishing. There's Steven Warren Hill signing copies of Silver Scream Vol 1, a great guide to classic horror films; Arnold T Blumberg is signing copies of his awesome guide to zombie films, Zombiemania; and David J Howe is also there signing copies of his superb book The Target Book, which details the history of all the old Doctor Who novelisations.

All of Telos' books are available from them online as well at, so check them out.

Meantime, I can't wait to leave the snowy UK for a while and bask in the LA sunshine ... having said that, though, I bet it rains!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Gallifrey One

I'll be attending Gallifrey One in LA in February.

This is the Dr Who convention that most people rate as being the absolute best.

The dates for the convention are 13th-15th February. Dr Who stars and writers will be present and taking part in panels and discussion groups.

I will have a few books with me if you want one, but don't want to wait for the delivery time for the UK. Also, I'll be willing to sign any books you already have as well as giving out some Demon Lover Cd's as a promotion.

For further information check out the website on the following link

Gallifrey One

For those friends who live near by, it will be lovely to see you at sometime over the course of the Week that I'll be in LA. I'll post further information of my plans when we get nearer the time.

Happy New Year!