Monday, 5 August 2019

Why Lancaster?

A question I am frequently asked is, “Why have you set
stories about a paranormal investigator in Lancaster of all places?”
When I first moved to this hidden jewel of the North West, tucked away to the side of the M6, I was but a mere university undergraduate. Living on the campus a few miles south of the city, I rarely ventured into town. However, when I did, it was normally at night time to frequent the pubs and clubs. I was soon drawn into a world the like of which I had never experienced before. Having grown up in a small market town which had undergone numerous rejuvenations, I had only ever heard of these mystical little routes between buildings known as alleysand had never actually seen them up close.
Lancaster was (and still is) full of them.
The city's heyday was in Georgian times when the majority of the hoi polloiwandered around on foot. Only the rich had access to carriages and, as a result, most of the main roads were narrow and the small footpaths that connected them were even more of a squeeze. Wandering around as a bright-eyed fresher, I could not help but be attracted to these tiny veins and arteries of my new home. As I passed one in the middle of the night, I could easily imagine what creatures might lurk down its shadowy depths and I would automatically cross to a lighter side of the high street to avoid being dragged away for some nocturnal creature's midnight snack.
Time and familiarity tend to eradicate childish fears. So it was that, in my twenties, I started to see these little footpaths as less a potential lair for the undead and more a quick shortcut home from work. They lost their edge and became just like everything else in my early working years, part of the norm. I would stroll down them without giving a thought to ghosties or beasties that might have dwelt along their cobbled paths.
Then, when I stumbled rather bemusedly into my thirties, I began to hear tell of stories regarding Lancaster's past. Tales that portrayed the city as less of a sparkling diamond, but more of a mysterious dark orb. There were ghosts that wandered the dressing rooms of the Grand Theatre. There was the screaming head that rolled down Castle Hill. 
And who, in Lancashire, has not heard about the fate of the Pendle Witches? Members of two families whose feud boiled over into allegations of Satanism and witchcraft, leading them to be incarcerated at Lancaster Castle before gruesome deaths and executions.
So it was that I started to reevaluate my sanitised view of my city and began to once more regard its shadowy alleys with a dose of caution and a certain amount of trepidation. These were footways that had known history, and not just the peaceful type where everyday folk merrily went about their business. There were murders, deaths and destruction that had bled their way into the very cobblestones upon which I walked.
So, when I get asked the aforementioned question, I tell those who enquire to come to Lancaster. Visit this place steeped in blood-stained history and walk down its alleyways at night. Then they will see how it might just be possible that there is a werewolf roaming Williamson Park, that a vampire might happen to run a local comic shop or that maybe, just maybe, the crazy woman singing on the street corner could very well be descended from the Pendle Witches.

Until next time, keep looking for what lurks in the shadows.
A.S.Chambers.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Back In The Old Home Town.

One of the questions that I get asked a lot about my Sam Spallucci books is, “Are all the places in the books real?” The easiest answer to this is, “Usually.” For example, most of the locations in Lancaster exist in the real world with the exception of Luneside University, which happens to be Lancaster University transported magically down onto the side of the river Lune. All the rest of the locations in Sam’s adopted home town are more or less as you find them. There is the Ashton Memorial in Williamsons’ Park, the Priory Church of St Mary, the Borough and indeed 15a Dalton Square, all of which are real locations.
But what about Sam’s originalhome town of Wellington which we first visit in Shadows of Lancaster? Does this have a basis in fact? 
Indeed it does. Wellington first came into existence when I wrote the as yet unpublished Fallen Angel. I needed a small market town with an impressive gothic church so I went with the old adage, “write about what you know.” All I reallyknew as a teenager, was my home town of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. So I used that.
Specifically, I used my parish church of All Hallows.
All Hallows was a perfect model for All Saints in Sam’s world. A gothic beauty, it is almost virtually identical in the books as it is in real life: a towering spire, next to a thriving market, the ornate rood screen with the lifelike figure of the crucified Jesus in calm repose.
And, yes, there is the font.
Now, the font in All Hallows may not have the enigmatic inscription “Knaves Are Not Our Responsibility”, but it is a fine piece of stone craftsmanship, nonetheless. As a chorister there, I witnessed many babies getting dunked in the large stone bowl. What I can absolutely testify to is that there is nothing supernatural about it and there are no mysterious
watery noises coming from beneath it, even though Wellingborough was a spa town in Tudor and Stuart times.
Speaking of All Saints, Songbird – A Nightingale Storyis now out online and in a select few shops. It tells the tale of a young girl who rises from the poverty of Victorian England, to become Nightingale, the leader of the Children of Cain, the group of vampires in the universe of Sam Spallucci. As we follow her journey, she spends time at the church of All Saints in Wellington, where she witnesses a number of supernatural events surrounding the font and is subjected to the sadistic wrath of the parish priest before being rescued by her vampiric father, Doulos.
If you want to treat yourself to a copy, it is available to buy over on Amazonor, if you want a signed copy, feel free to drop me a line at www.aschambers.co.uk.


Until next time, keep looking for what lurks in the shadows.
A.S.Chambers.



Monday, 3 June 2019

Steampunkery and Vampires.

So, the last week has been somewhat manic for me.
Not only have I launched a Kickstarter for my new novella Songbird: A Nightingale Story (more on that in a bit), but I had the delightful pleasure of attending this year’s A Splendid Day Out at the Platform in Morecambe.


For those of you who don’t know, Steampunk is a fantastical fusion of high Victoriana and all manner of things futuristic. If you can imagine Sherlock Holmes hanging from a Zeppelin whilst blasting off a patented Tesla ray gun, then you are in the right sort of ball park. 

A Splendid Day Out has taken over Morecambe every year now for the past six years (if memory serves me correctly) and I have been lucky enough to attend the majority of the events. It is marvellous to see the little seaside town transformed into something quite spectacular. 

As well as the traders’ market with all sorts of goodies on sale, there was tea duelling, teapot racing, clog dancing, magical shenanigans and wonderfully eccentric music to name but a few of the array of attractions.

Then there was the authors’ tent, where Yours Truly had an absolute blast. I can safely say that I have never been to an event where I have been so inundated with enquiries (and indeed sales of) my books. My fellow authors were an absolute hoot and we all had a great time chatting to members of the public and basically causing general anarchy. I feel deeply sorry for the poor chap who had to try and control us during the panel on the end of the Sunday: it was like trying to herd LSD-infused felines!


If you haven’t been to the event, then I highly recommend it. The link to the ASDO website is here.



So, if having a blast over the weekend wasn’t enough to keep me entertained, last Monday I launched the Kickstarter for my next book Songbird: A Nightingale Story.

I have to say that I felt sick to the core when I clicked on launch for the crowdfunding for my vampire Nightingale’s origins novella. I was convinced that it would be a flop and I would just sit and watch tumbleweed drift through my campaign for the next thirty days.

Well, all those nerves were well and truly squashed when the campaign zoomed past its target in just six hours!!! Needless to say, I was totally gobsmacked and my thanks goes out to everyone who has contributed so far.


There are still approximately three weeks left on the campaign and there are still plenty of goodies left to be snapped up. Primarily there is the opportunity to preorder digital and paperback copies of the book which see Nightingale rise from the poverty of Victorian England to becoming the leader of the Children of Cain, the vampires from the world of my very own Sam Spallucci. 

Not only this, but there is also the opportunity to grab yourself some limited edition artwork by the amazing Liam Shaw. I have a very limited run of A4 prints of the cover art on offer alongside signed copies of Songbird, The Case of The Belligerent Bard  and The Casebook of Sam Spallucci.

Why not hop over to Kickstarter now and have a look for yourself? You can reach it here.



Until next time, keep looking for what lurks in the shadows.
A.S.Chambers.




Friday, 10 May 2019

A Little Taster

Hello one and all!

Something a little bit different this month. As well as my usual round up, I'm going to post a
small sample of my work here just in case anyone is unfamiliar with it. It will be from The Casebook of Sam Spallucci, the very first book that I published, way back in the mists of 2012.

But first, a little note about what I've been up to since last month's rambling. 

As well as cracking on with Sam's latest outing, Troubled Souls, I've also been out and about meeting friends old and new. April saw me darting over first to the Pagan Federation in Wakefield where I sat in on a fascinating talk about Gerald Gardner, the founder of the modern Wicca movement. Then I headed over to sunny Doncaster where I had a jolly pleasant day at Unleashed Event's con.

The first weekend of May saw my biggest event of the year so far, EM-Con. Situated at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham I had an absolute blast and my books were positively flying out. In fact i sold out of The Casebook of Sam Spallucci altogether.

Talking of Casebook...

Like I mentioned earlier, just in case anyone reading this hasn't sampled my works or is unsure as to whether they ought to nip over to Amazon (link below), here is a small extract from the beginning of the first of the cases in Sam Spallucci's first week on the job:

The Case of The Satanic Suburban Sitcom.

So, may I ask you what is the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked? You know the sort of thing. You’re normally sat in a quiet corner of your favourite bar or pub (the Borough, in my case, as it’s just over the road from my office) supping away at your favourite brew, enjoying the peace and solitude of your own inner ramblings when you notice that someone is stood next to you.

Even before you look up from your alcoholic musings, you just know that it’s going to be trouble. There’s that air of “Oh, dear God,” hanging in the air, but you do the polite thing and look up at the person looming into your personal space whilst smiling expectantly.

Now, if it was a normal person stood there, perhaps wanting to share a table due to the lack of space or wanting to ask you what the time might be as their watch had stopped, then they would smile back and make polite conversation.

No, the sort of person stood there now does not smile, they gawp. They have that faraway look in their
eye that tasted far too many magic mushrooms in their youth or tells of a childhood climbing electric pylons on long, hot summer days. Also, they tend to dribble somewhat, don’t they? Not much. Just a drip from the corner of their slack-jawed mouth.

Then they pop the question.

There’s no reason or rationale to their request. It’s just totally random. It might be something like, “I hit badgers with teaspoons. Wanna join in?” or “You wanna see my collection of belly button fluff? The yellow ones are really interesting.”

Yeah. Weird. Really weird.

Well the other week I got asked a question that topped all of those: “Will you investigate the cast of a high-profile sitcom? I think they’re all Satanists.”





I hope you enjoyed that. If you did then either drop me a line at my website for a signed copy, or feel free to nip over to Amazon where you can buy both paperback and kindle versions.


Chat soon,
A.S.Chambers.




Tuesday, 9 April 2019

A Shadowy Spring

As I sit typing this, the sun is streaming through my window and spring has finally sprung. Duckings are quacking their way down the canal and lambs are starting to learn about the bogeyman spoken of in hushed tones as “mint sauce”. Spring always brings a feeling of rebirth and renewal, a shot in the arm of patent vim and vigour. It makes you feel that perhaps everything can be all right with the world.

Oh, that things could be that simple for my dearly beloved investigator of the paranormal, Sam Spallucci! I am now two cases into his next outing, Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls, and things are, as usual, spiralling rather out of control for him. Following the same format as Casebook and Shadows of Lancaster, the latest book will be compiled of five interlinked cases: The Case of The Cherokee Checkout, The Case of The Distressed Demoniac, The Case of The Time-Travelling Tea Rooms, The Case of The Dabbling Dominion and The Case of The Bare Lane Butcher. We will see Sam encounter love-stricken spectres, lost creatures from another realm, an interfering angel and not one, but two, serial killers stalking the back streets of Lancaster and Morecambe. 
I am enjoying this outing for numerous reasons. As well as exploring the ever increasing interference in Sam’s life by the mysterious Kanor, bringer of the apocalyptic Divergence, I will also be using Sam’s lodger Alec a lot more and delving into his family. 

Plus, on top of all this, I am delighted to be working with the marvellous Peter Cakebread. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reading his novel The Morecambe Medium which is set in Victorian Morecambe and I asked him at the time whether or not he fancied penning a joint effort. The Case of The Time-Travelling Tea Rooms will be my half of this venture. Sam, accompanied by his bohemian best friend Spliff, will find themselves teamed up with Peter’s detectorators Mulberry and Touchstone, tracking down the original Bare Lane Butcher. As usual in Sam’s world, not everything is as it seems and there will be repercussions later on in Troubled Souls.


Upcoming Events:
As well as scribbling away, I shall be making a few appearances over the next few weeks. Saturday 13th April sees me in Wakefield at the Pagan Federation North East Conference. Then, on the very next day, I shall be just down the road in Doncaster for the Doncaster Unleashed Comic Con. The 4th and 5th May see my return to the ever popular EM-Con (where I hope to successfully stalk cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation) and on the 11th May I shall be at the annual Oldham Comic Con. Feel free to come along and say, “Hello!”

All the best,
A.S.Chambers (April 2019).


Monday, 11 March 2019

Something to get your teeth into!

February (and indeed early march) have been insanely busy. This has been in main due to my work on the novella Songbird. When I was working on Sam Spallucci: Dark Justice, I decided that I wasn’t quite finished with the vampires just yet. First saw the publication in January of my Children of Cain omnibus which collected together all the vampire shorts that I had previously published in my anthologies. Then came the idea that I wanted to concentrate on just one of the vampires from Sam’s world. Namely, Nightingale. Songbird, for want of a better term, is an origins story for the regent of the Children of Cain. It tells of her time as a servant to the brutal vicar of All Saints in Wellington where she encounters the mysterious watery force that dwells beneath the church before the cataclysmic event that leads to the destruction of the church’s interior, leading to the installation of the new font with its infamous inscription. We then join her in her early weeks as a vampire, having been birthed and rescued by the troubled Doulos. With Nightingale, we meet Marcus, who would become her long term partner then we travel over to the Wild West and follow her through the tragic story as previously told in Family
I’ve always had a soft spot for Justice’s sister. In fact, she was one of the first of the children of Cain that I created when I wrote Fallen Angel. We actually meet her and Marcus there, right at the very end of her life. She came across then, as she does in the following stories, as still very human, and I think that’s why she has become a firm fan favourite as, unlike many fictional vampires, readers can relate to her and what she goes through.
Songbird was finished last week and is now at the formatting stage and I eagerly wait artwork from the incredibly talented Liam Shaw who created the covers for Mourning Has Broken and Children of Cain. I’m hoping to publish it some point during April although, before then, I’m thinking about running a Kickstarter campaign to help with costs of publishing and promoting. Watch this space and all my various social media sites for details as there will be nice little deals to be had for those who help out.

Upcoming Events:
One for the diary this month is Lancaster Litfest. On the 17th March I shall be reading a few excerpts and chatting about my books at Pizza Margherita on Moor Lane in Lancaster. More details can be found over at the Litfest website.

All the best,
A.S.Chambers (March 2019).



Thursday, 31 January 2019

At last, an update!

At last, an update from A.S.Chambers. 


    January has been a fantastic month at Chambers Towers. Normally, once the ice hits and my beard starts to freeze, I make like a grizzly and hibernate, emerging only to mauling to a painful death anyone who is daft enough to wake me. This year, however, has been surprisingly productive.
     First, Children of Cain – A Vampire Omnibus has seen the light of day. Compiling all the short stories
surrounding the vampires that exist in Sam Spallucci’s world, it makes a tidy little anthology and is a must buy for the avid collector of my books or anyone who wants to have a taster of my work outside the life of Lancaster’s beleaguered investigator of the paranormal.

     It was wonderful to work with the amazingly talented Liam Shaw once more as he transformed the vision of constant reader Ann Daniel when she won the competition to design the cover for the book. This is the second time that I have collaborated with Liam as he brought the cover to Mourning Has Broken into life back in 2018. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for Songbird.

   Speaking of which, I am just about at the end of the second draft of the origins story for Nightingale the vampire. A firm favourite with my readers, it was only right that I go back and explore certain elements of her history. These include: her life before being turned; her time at All Saints church (which she refers to in Sam Spallucci: Dark Justice); her relationship with her and Justice’s vampire father, Doulos and of course the cataclysmic events of the short story Family. It has been an absolute joy to work on Songbird and I know that many of my readers can’t wait for its release.

     January has also seen something quite momentous for me. On the whole, most of my books have been published through Amazon’s KDP platform, which is easy to use and provides a good online marketplace for them. However, I have now re-released the third edition of The Casebook of Sam Spallucci through a platform that will reach high street stores. I intend to do the same for all the other Sam books and, later on this year, I shall be approaching the likes of Waterstones and W.H.Smiths. Watch this space.


     Well, that’s all for now. There will be another post here in a few weeks. I’ll share it out on social media, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, I had better crack on with the fifth Sam Spallucci novel Troubled Souls.

All the best and keep looking in the shadows,
Austin.


Don't forget to visit my website: www.aschambers.co.uk