Monday, 21 June 2021

Bobby Normal 2 is on its way!

Welcome to a slightly later than normal June update!

The month of May proved to be incredibly busy, albeit mainly on the editing front rather than the writing.


With regards to the second Bobby Normal book (Bobby Normal and the Virtuous Man) this is now all finished, formatted and ready to go. As you can see from the proof that dropped through my letterbox yesterday, I have another amazing piece of art from Liam Shaw for the cover. It is looking like the book should be published in August with the Kickstarter launching on 12th July. Number three, Bobby Normal and the Children of Cain is well under way and is steadily growing whilst I carry on with the huge task of editing Sam Spallucci: Bloodline.



Talking of which…


The main edit of Bloodline is now finished and I am onto the tidying up/proofreading stage. I am incredibly pleased with this one as it has taken me just a year from start to finish, which is a record for a Sam book. I have awesome cover art, again from Liam, and will be showing this off in a couple of months. All under wraps at the moment. There will be a huge Kickstarter for this project in October with lots of giveaways and, don’t forget, all Seraph members in my Book Club will receive a signed copy of this and BNVM as soon as they are published.


Another book they will receive will be If Ye Loathe Me, my next anthology. This is also down to the fine edit stage and should see the light of day about February next year, around the same time as  Bobby Normal and the Children of Cain. (In fact this could very well be a double release.) There are some cracking stories in here, including an extra epilogue to Bloodline and three (yes, three!) prologues to next year’s Sam Spallucci: Fury of the Fallen, when we follow the traumatic fallout from Bloodline and witness the arrival of fallen angels Asherah and Asmodeus in Lancaster. But enough on that for now, as that way spoilers lie…


Anyway, take care and keep looking for what lurks in the shadows!


Austin.




Saturday, 15 May 2021

The exciting month of May!

 Greetings one and all and welcome to this May update.


So, the big news of the month is that Bobby Normal and the Eternal Talisman is now published and available to be purchased. If you would like to jump into the adventures of Bobby and his kid sister as they are drawn into a world of intrigue in the post apocalyptic world of the Divergent Lands, then there are three ways to grab a copy for yourself (or even for a loved one).


The easiest method would be to nip over to Amazon. There are links for this over on my website. Also on my website, you can order a signed copy, should you want something a little bit more unique. Just drop me a line with your details on the contact page.






The third method, and the one that I am most excited about, is my shiny new Book Club. It has four levels of membership, offering you more and more weekly goodies depending on which level you subscribe to. Until the end of May, all new subscribers to the top level, Seraph, will have a signed copy of Bobby Normal and the Eternal Talisman posted out to them as part of their membership and at no extra cost. If, after that month you feel the Book Club isn’t for you, then you can cancel your membership. Details of all the membership levels are here on my website.


Now, I’m not sleeping on my laurels with the publication of BNET. Far from it. The second book in that series, Bobby Normal and the Virtuous Man, is currently at the proof-readers and I’m hoping to get that out late summer after a Kickstarter campaign, so watch this space for that. There will be all manner of rewards accompanying that one.


Also nearing completion is the next Sam Spallucci book, Bloodline. Set directly after the events of Troubled Souls, it will follow Sam as not only does he have to deal with the lycanthropic Bloodline of Abel setting their sights on Lancaster, but also the return of a romantic face from his past. I am currently targeting November as the publication time zone for this one. It’s been a blast to write and the artwork by Liam Shaw is outstanding. The Seraph members of my Book Club will be the first ones to see that, later this month.


Right, I’d better shoot off and let you get back to your lives.

Stay safe and keep looking for what lurks in the shadows!

Austin.






Thursday, 15 April 2021

A Release Date for Bobby Normal!

A warm welcome to one and all on what is a glorious April morning. 

First, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last few months with the production of Bobby Normal and the Eternal Talisman. Special thanks go to my lovely patrons who subscribe on a monthly basis, receiving all manner of goodies every week. Also, a big dose of gratitude to all of you who backed my immensely successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s overwhelming success far exceeded my humble expectations and it was wonderful to see, for the first time on a Kickstarter, new readers signing up to the ever-expanding Spallucciverse.

 

BNET is currently scheduled to be published on 30th April.


It will take me a couple of weeks to get my physical copies after that but, once they are in my possession, I shall post them out to my Seraph patrons, my Kickstarter backers and all those who have pre-ordered them directly from me. If you would like a paperback copy, please drop me a line through the contact form on my website: www.aschambers.co.uk. Alternatively, should you fancy a Kindle version, you can pre-order one from Amazon.

 

I am hoping, once things are safer, to hold a signing at First Age Comics on Moor Lane in Lancaster. I am also planning ahead for something a bit larger either late this year, or sometime next year. But more on that as it evolves...

 

So, after BNET, what next?

 

Well, be prepared to be hit with not one, not two, but potentially THREE books. The second Bobby Normal book, Bobby Normal and the Virtuous Man is in its final stages of editing, as is my next anthology If Ye Loathe Me. It is possible that BNVM might actually come out late summer, depending on time constraints. I’ve really been in the zone with Bobby, and the stories are coming thick and fast. I think you’ll love them. If Ye Loathe Me, although it is near completion, won’t be published until early 2022 – something creepy for those dark, wintry nights. This is because it contains stories that are set directly after the next Sam Spallucci book, Bloodline.

 

And what of Sam’s next adventure? We left him hanging at the end of Troubled Souls with the knowledge that his ex, Caroline Adamson, wanted him to appear on her prime time TV show and with strong hints that the Bloodline of Abel were alive and kicking in Lancaster. Well, Bloodline will pick up exactly where Troubled Souls finished and, trust me, it will be the biggest roller coaster yet for poor Sam. More on that next time. The book itself is half way through its big edit and the incredibly talented Liam Shaw is currently creating some amazing lycanthropic cover art, so I am hoping to publish in November. Ideal for Christmas!

 

Don’t forget that amongst all this writing, I have a steadily growing YouTube channel. Make sure to check it out and subscribe.

 

That’s all for now.

Take care and stay safe!

Austin.




Monday, 15 February 2021

Bobby Normal is on his way!

Greetings one and all!

I hope this newsletter finds you safe and well as we continue to dip a tentative toe into 2021, hoping that we find the water pleasantly warm and not infested with starving piranhas.


So, over the last month or so, I’ve been hinting at my next project, Bobby Normal and the Eternal Talisman. I thought now would be a good time to fill you in on some details regarding this new venture for me. 


BNET is going to be the first of five novellas set in the future, after the Divergence has come about. Kanor has risen, unleashed his constructs (and a few more horrors besides) and humanity has been reduced to a pitiful remnant. Into this post-apocalyptic scenario are born our main character, Bobby, and his sister Katy. Bobby is early teens and his sister is a feisty eight-year-old. When the series start, they are eking out a meagre existence in the village of Irlingbury, a few years after their father was executed by Shadow Wraiths, a type of uber-construct. 


Not only is life hard for Bobby and Katy, constantly having to hide from the bully Teller whose father is a quisling for the tyrannical rule of Kanor, but one day they find themselves tasked with having to deliver the Eternal Talisman into the hands of the Man of Virtue who is currently residing in the neighbouring village of Orchester. It has been said that the talisman will be a tool that will help him to destroy the “black dragon”, Kanor.


BNET tells the story of Bobby and Katy as they journey out of their home village for the first time in their lives and the adventures that they have on the way to Orchester. They are chased through derelict sewers by a horde of rats, meet an elderly enigmatic traveller known only as Cutter and are constantly tormented and tested by the vile Teller, leading to a horrific and unexpected climax.


I thoroughly enjoyed writing this novella, which is currently in its formatting stage and I adore the amazing artwork that the talented Liam Shaw devised for its cover. It will be published this Easter and I hope to have a Kickstarter up and running in March to cover the publication costs. More on that next month but, in the meantime, all my Seraph level patrons are currently enjoying teaser extracts from the book in the run up to its publication and they will receive a signed copy through their letter boxes as soon as it sees the light of day. If you want more details about becoming a patron, then please visit my Patron page.

 

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope February treats you and yours well and I look forward to chatting to you next month.

 

All the best, 

Austin.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Here's to a cracking 2021!

         Welcome to what will be my last blog of 2020.

 

I think it is safe to say that we did not see this year coming and it has indeed been a somewhat tempestuous year for all concerned. I just want to take this moment to say a huge, heart-felt “thank you” to all my readers and supporters out there. The job of being an author can, at times, be a desperately lonely one with only the crazed voices of one’s characters in one’s head to talk to. In a normal year I would be travelling around the UK attending conventions and signings, not only selling my wares but also meeting up with real live human beings. It is this person to person contact which can help keep one on the narrow path of sanity. However, 2020 whipped this little security blanket away from my grasp and laughed in my face as it doused my comforter with a highly flammable liquid before torching it. 

But, this horrid year did not anticipate all the lovely people out there who continue to enjoy my books and send me messages of warmth and encouragement. This has meant so much to me over the last twelve months, even more than normally. I lift my cup of coffee and send you all a toast of thanks!

It is with all your support that I have been able to publish two books this year whilst working on more for 2021. This summer saw the release of Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls and in November out came Hide Not Thou Thy Face. The response from you wonderful readers has been amazing. I guess I’d better write at least a few more...

So, enough of 2020. What about next year?

Well, it looks like 2021 is going to be my busiest yet!

The first of my Young Adult series will be published around Easter time. Bobby Normal and the Eternal Talisman is a novella set many years in the future, post-Divergence. Kanor has risen and his constructs have decimated the population of the world. Bobby and his kid sister Katy find themselves tasked with taking the Eternal Talisman to the Virtuous Man in the hope that he can use it to overthrow Kanor himself. I’ve really enjoyed writing this one as it has finally let me play with this post-apocalyptic landscape that I’ve been hinting at since the very first Sam Spallucci book back in 2011. I’m now half way through writing the second outing: Bobby Normal and the Virtuous Man. Watch this space for a release date and Kickstarter.

As well as Bobby’s first outing, there will be the next Sam Spallucci book: Bloodline. This is about a quarter finished as I type and it continues straight on from the events of Troubled Souls. Not only is Sam’s ex back on the scene but it would appear that the werewolves of his universe, the Bloodline of Abel, have their sights set on his city. A word of warning though; this one will be an absolute tear-jerker with the life of one side character turned upside down and another... Well, can’t say too much. Spoilers and all that. I am hoping to publish Bloodline in the summer, but best laid plans and all that, so we shall have to wait and see.

Also planned for 2021 is the next anthology: If Ye Loathe Me. This is actually more complete than Bloodline at the moment and will include a good number of shorts and three prologues to Sam 7, Fury Of The Fallen. Looking at Christmas next year for this one.

I have had a feeling for the last year that a hardback omnibus is due for the first three Sam Spallucci books. All being well, I look forward to getting this out next year along with a short book of poetry. (If you think my prose can be weird, well you ain’t seen nothing yet...)

I’ll leave it there for now and send you all seasons greeting. I hope December sees you and yours safe and well and I look forward to seeing you all either physically or virtually in 2021.

 

All the best!

Austin.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Hide Not Thou Thy Face is Published.

It's with great glee that I can announce that my latest anthology Hide Not Thou Thy Face was published on the 2nd November. Like the preceding four collections, it contains a number of short horror stories, some to make your squirm, others to make to chuckle and a few to hopefully make you dash out and invest in the Sam Spallucci books.


I'm not going to waffle on about it toooooo much here as there are details and links over on my website: www.aschambers.co.uk. So please please hop over there and check it out.

What I am going to do, though, is give you a glimpse into the one of the stories.

As most of my readers know, I am a huge Mike Oldfield fan and quite often have his music playing when I'm writing. One of my favourite tracks is off Tubular Bells 3 and is entitled Far Above The Clouds. If you've not heard it before. Watch the clip over on YouTube. I listen to this track a lot! I have it on repeat so much. So it was only right that I ended up creating what a story that I see in my head whilst listening to the music. I mentioned this a few weeks ago in the Mike Oldfield Fans group over on Facebook and I was immediately asked if I could share the story with them. I promised them that I would when the book was published, so here it is.


I hope you enjoy it!



Far Above The Clouds.

 

Rain lanced down from the blackened sky above, its stinging stair rods darting all over the man’s upturned face. He did not mind the thousands of little painful pinpricks. He didn’t want to move. He wanted to stay rooted to the same spot for the rest of his life. Let the rain pour down upon him for eternity. Let it bring minerals and elements that would calcify him, turn him to a pillar of stone.

But he could not look back.

He could not stay.

He heaved his hefty bag and pulled it up over his shoulder. 

What the bag contained weighed heavy on his body, a burden. Only he knew what was within the faded canvas material. Only he had peered inside and seen the most wondrous things.

They were his to own and his to keep. They were his secrets.

Deep, dark, wondrous secrets.

He had tried to share them with the people that he had left behind, down in the valley. He had told them of marvels and fantastical things. But they had not listened. They did not want to comprehend that their salvation, their redemption, was so close at hand.

So he would leave now, and keep his beautiful secrets to himself alone.

As for those who had not listened…

The man placed one foot in front of another and began his long walk up the mountainside, away from those who would not listen, did not care to believe, the light shale crunching under his determined footstep. Still the rain fell out the grey sky, dampening his hair, wetting his clothes, but that did not matter. All that concerned him was what lay at the very summit of the mountaintop, enclosed within the cave at its distant peak.

No one from down below ever ventured there. They were more enrapt with the tiny devices that they held in their fidgeting, nervous hands. They claimed that these gadgets set them free, informed them, liberated them. But the man knew different, knew the truth. They had become enslaved to the faceless ones behind the screens, the ones who watched and listened. The ones who controlled what it was that the people learnt, what they listened to, what they saw. No one knew who these nameless entities were, nor did they care. They possessed shiny, wonderful toys that promised things of wonder.

They did not perceive that they were actually slaves.

They had not listened to the truth.

They were doomed.

So the man proceeded upwards through the all-consuming rain, his heavy bag of secrets slung tight over his aching shoulder. He journeyed up higher than anyone else that lived in the glittering city down below had ever been, to a place that he had not visited for many, many years. The air grew thin and the rain dissipated as he breached the cloud-line that guarded the distant summit, his Ultima Thule. He knew that, once he passed through this membrane of mist, there would be no turning back. He would be unseen by those down below, forgotten (if he were not already). 

But he pushed on for he still had far to go, one footstep after another. 

It was so terribly difficult to see as he walked through the cloud. He remembered his father bringing him up here, when times were simpler. “Concentrate on the path,” the older man had said. “One step at a time and everything will become clear.” And that was how the man had lived his life; concentrating on the path, one step at a time. That was how he had gathered his precious secrets and discovered the terrible truth.

The life in which those down below dwelt, was utterly pointless.

People woke in the morning. They stretched their arms and breathed in deep the air around them, but they no longer felt their hearts beat, their pulses surge. There was no excitement. There was no true joy, no love, no passion. The devices in their hands had removed all this away as they manacled themselves to the people’s wrists, drawing down their eyes to the whirling, swirling hypnotic screens.

This was a vague existence, not a life.

And those entities behind the screens continued to watch, feeding on the people, draining every last drop of soul from their withering bodies. 

The people did not leave their houses. They sat and fiddled on their devices, convincing themselves that they were witnessing great wonders, when all they really gazed upon was a sham, a mockery of life. They did not see the rivers flow, the trees yearn upwards to the rain-giving clouds. They did not care for the cry of the new-born child, nor the laughter of the playful toddler. They were told that these things were irrelevant, annoyances. They were to be shunned, parodied, despised.

But the man loved all these things and he mourned their loss. 

There had been a time when the streets were full of the happy sounds of children playing. There had been a time when a new-born child had been a joy rather than a burden. There had been a time when people had taken pride in a craftsman’s work rather than pressing a button and receiving a pale, cheap simulacra from somewhere far across the globe.

The clouds parted and the man looked upwards towards his Ultima Thule.

It was a place of glory. 

It was a place of sunshine.

He had passed through the veil of water, cleansed and refreshed. 

He allowed himself a small smile, but he was not there yet. The steepest stretch of his journey lay before him and his bag of secrets was so very, very heavy, the worn canvas drenched in the purifying rain. However, he had travelled it before, so many years ago with his long-departed father. They had travelled up as his loving pa had waxed lyrical about what lay ahead, at the very summit, deep in the cave. An incredible thing that no one else knew about. 

Something very old.

Something ancient.

From a time that the people below no longer believed in.

The man felt the strain of his secrets weighing heavily upon his back and he wished that it had not come to this, that he had been able to share them.

But no one had listened.

They had mocked him.

They had scoffed at him.

They had ignored him.

They had thrown insults at him and cast him out, before returning to the dire existence that they so craved. 

So, he knew that he had to perform the task ahead of him, enter the cave that his father had discovered and do what must be done.

As he reached the summit, the sun started to descend and he saw glimmers of light pricking their way through the clouds as the people down below turned on more and more of the technology that controlled their little lives. He looked up and saw the heavens above, a vast wide sea of darkness, dotted with waves and islands of luminescence that would not be visible to those down below. As their harsh, vicious lights scraped away all subtlety and restful night, they would be imprisoned in a false day. They would not rest. They would not surrender their weary bodies to a deep, refreshing slumber. They would toss and turn in their flimsy, creaking beds as the bright lights wormed their way in through their inefficient curtains. They would awake in the morning, tired, grumpy and annoyed before ignoring those around them on their way to work by plugging themselves into their little devices and convincing themselves that this was how it had always been.

But it hadn’t.

And it wouldn’t be once again.

The man reached the plateau at the top of the mountain, far above the clouds and he walked into the comforting darkness of the small cave that was situated atop the peak. He needed no light for there was nothing there over which he could possibly stumble. It was an empty room, containing one solitary item, and he knew exactly where to locate it. He just walked with his hand outstretched until it located that which his father had shown him so many years ago.

His hand clasped around the cold, metallic object, its grip perfectly moulding to his welcoming hand.

And, with not the slightest bit of hesitation, he thrust the ancient switch downwards.

The bells rang out from the mountain top. Over and over they rang as the arcane device cranked itself into life. They were the warning chimes, heralding a new era.

The device rose, slowly into the clear night sky above the sonorous cacophony and the man felt an insistent thrumming from far below his feet, as if the mountain were alive and was preparing itself to speak. Carefully, he traced his steps back out of the cave and looked up at the device, now tall and erect above the summit, its scaffold reaching up to a new world as the rhythmic pounding increased. The man sensed the momentous energy building up far below, from the machines created by those who had gone before, who had suffered the same fate as those who once again had fallen slave to the technologies they had created. 

“It’s an ongoing cycle,” his father had explained to him, all those years ago, “one which can never be truly stopped.”

But the man was trying. He really was.

His hair stood straight from his head and the air tasted of oiled steel as the great device charged itself with its godlike power.

He imagined the people below pausing in what they were doing on their little devices and listening to the sound of the tolling bells chiming from high above, wondering what on earth it could be. They would have no notion of what was to come.

Then the machine’s noise crescendoed and the man felt a great wave wash past him, out to the people below in the illuminated city where they dwelt, trapped in their technological prisons.

And one by one, the lights fell dark.

 

©A.S.Chambers 2020





Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The Wonderful Work of Liam Shaw.

A real treat this month as I get the chance to interview the lovely Liam Shaw who has been the talented cover artist for three of my books and is currently slaving away over the design for the first Bobby Normal novelette which is due out next year.

 


Could you please give us a quick introduction to yourself and tell us where you’re based?

I'm a Portrait/Poster Artist based in Wigan, a have a college degree in graphic design and fine art, a university illustration degree and 8 years’ practice in life drawing. For 6 years now I have been creating artwork, working together with creatives or creating fan art of my favourite characters. I also attend comic cons in the UK, mainly in the north areas, but would love to go to other comic cons around the world.

 

How would you describe your style?

My style has always been evolving into something new. I specialise in portraits and posters but I do experiment in new and fun ways of painting digitally and in inks. I take inspiration from incredible, well-known artists such as Drew Struzan, Mark Rahts, Paul Shipper and many other incredible that artists I follow.

 

Do you have a preference of either digital or inks, or does it depend on the project you’re working on?

Ideally digital as the client will have adjustable needs such as changes, altering a pose and it works better for me with deadlines. I would work on inks, watercolour or painting if the project needed it but there has been a decline in that area for me and it takes a lot more patience and time as it’s a delicate process, I normally work with those for events such as Inktober or private commissions.

 

How did you get into your profession? Were you artistic at school or did it grab you more as you got older?

I knew I could draw but I never thought I could earn money from it. Tutors would notice I would excel more at drawing than graphic design.




 

Half-way through university I would not get that praise as my work had no passion in them as the projects weren’t appealing to me and they wouldn't allow me to draw what I wanted. I wanted to draw people and experiment with digital painting and traditional portraits. 

 

After university, I pushed myself towards drawing portraits and posters drawing most nights until 5am, promoting myself online more and attending craft fairs then eventually onto comic cons. I still have plenty to learn.


It’s been fascinating watching your style evolve during the time I’ve known you. What sort of projects are you working on at the moment and what sort of projects would you like to get your teeth into if you had the chance?

The projects I am currently working on are with a company on large wall art, custom illustrations for Dungeons and Dragons characters, a few projects with specific book companies but I'm not allowed to say who. 

 

The projects I would love would be anything movie or game related like posters, merch or even t-shirts. 

 

The dream would be too see my artwork at the cinemas on advertising posters/billboards would just make me so happy and actually proud of myself.

 

 

That would be so awesome! I could stand there and go, “I know him and he’s created cool work for me!” Do you find digitally created art is seen with the same respect as “traditional” formats these days, or are there still some people stuck in the dark ages who think it’s “not proper work”?

There are many ways people look at digital and its always the struggle to make someone realise from time to time that it’s drawn or created by someone as it can be so easily done by applying a filter or tracing but there is no fun or soul into the piece then. 

 

People tend to think it’s just a click of a button and it’s done, but what people don't realise is that so much thought goes into these pieces such as the ideas, planning out, sketching out, drawing the line work, painting your solid colours, adding more layers on top of them the list goes on and you notice all of this when you look closer at the image when you see the markings of a style in there and has a similar process as traditional.

 

It’s the same methods for graphic design and photo editing. 

 

I think digital is becoming more popular now and people are not afraid/not just sticking to traditional as I do love traditional work myself but we have to remember to pay equal respect to traditional artists and digital artists by admiring and supporting them.

 


I encourage anyone who just uses traditional to try out digital as it is so much fun to mess around with there are also free programs out there such as Clipstudio (free trail) Photoshop alternatives and Inkscape (illustrator alternative)

 

And of course, someone might have certain ideas about hands... (Thinks about Face cover... Cough, moving on...) Have you found the COVID situation with a lot of comic cons being cancelled a hindrance or a curious help in freeing up creative time?

Haha don't remind me... 

 

COVID is a weird one as I took 3 months away from working and used that time to study and learn from various online tutorials and build myself a new work station (PC) for bigger projects in future. 

 

I have certainly lost out on a lot due to the comic cons not being active but I have found myself more time to work towards commissions.

 

I know what you mean. It’s been the same here: the lack of income has been a pain but I have written far more than I normally do at this time of year. 

If you could meet an “old master” (and I’m not limiting that to Rembrandt and co.) and have a natter over a pint, who would it be and what would you want to ask them?

Yeah, it’s taken its toll on many people losing jobs but we must carry on and stay strong. 

 

You have stumped me a little there but the person I would love to meet and have a pint with is the one and only Drew Struzan (seems a little cliché) as, since a kid, I have been in love with his work ever since I saw the Hook movie poster and followed by many more of his work, I think I would start off with asking how they are etc. but I would just love to know why he had drawn it that way and what makes him realise that the work he produces really impacts into your memory and gives you a whole story in just one piece of artwork just is something incredible skill and hard work. 

 

It’s crazy as if you list any of the artwork he has done you can just remember it all so well like the first harry potter movie poster or even the Hellboy poster that never got used.

 

It’s something I wish I can accomplish one day where someone would see a piece of my work and still remember that in years to come.

 


 

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in producing artwork?

The advice I can give is keep working hard and don't give up. The start of this career is the hardest part and you need to stick to it in order to succeed. Sometimes other people may get to their goal quicker than others, but never compare yourself to someone who has been doing this for years.

 

And finally, where can people find you and purchase your amazeballs artwork? (Links etc.)

 

People can find me on social media at Liam Shaw illustration and you can buy limited prints and originals at - www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LiamShawillustration

 

Thank you. Austin for the interview it’s been a pleasure.

 

Thank you Liam. It’s always great to catch up and have a natter.