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!


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.


Saturday 15 August 2020

A Quick Catching of Breath...

 Welcome to my monthly roundup for August!

July was an incredibly busy month for me. First, and most

definitely foremost, after many trials and tribulations, Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls finally saw the light of day. Originally due out in the summer of 2019, it was originally set back by my ill health and other issues. It was then due an Easter publication, but fell afoul of Covid-19 and ended up being pushed back to July. However, all good things come to those who wait and, after an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign (again, thank you, thank you, thank you to all my lovely backers) it came out three weeks ago and is flying off the virtual shelves over on Amazon. 

The Kickstarter for Troubled Souls saw something that I hadn’t done before. I offered up the chance for readers to be killed off as characters in my latest book. In this case, a modern copycat of the Victorian Bare Lane Butcher dispatches victims using a good old-fashioned cutthroat razor in the back streets of Morecambe. I had four corpses up for grabs and all went within the first couple of hours. Indeed, apparently there was a virtual “fight” for the one victim which was a speaking role. Who would have known there would have been so much excitement? Due to the popularity of this whole thing, I’ve decided to offer up another speaking victim as a Kickstarter reward for Sam Spallucci: Bloodline when that comes out (hopefully next summer). But more on that another time…

Also on the book news front, this summer saw me complete my next short story anthology which will be out this November, in perfect time for Christmas! Hide Not Thou Thy Face will follow my usual anthology format and will contain a selection of short horror stories. Most notably will be the two interlinked tales: Orion’s Hunter and Disquiet Mind. These, along with Orion’s Child from Mourning Has Broken, will form the prologue for Sam Spallucci: Bloodline, looking at the events preceding the lycanthropic attempt to take over Sam’s beloved city of Lancaster. As I mentioned just before, Face will appear in November after a short Kickstarter in October. All my Seraph level Patreon subscribers will receive a signed copy in the post as soon as I have my physical copies which will be adorned by the amazing artwork of the incredibly talented Liam Shaw.

One piece of sad news this last month was the cancellation of York Comic Con. This is an event that I look forward to each year as I get to meet lots of readers. If you were planning to buy your latest Sam Spallucci fix from me at York, then please drop me a line via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.aschambers.co.uk and I will be able to post one out to you.

So, what is currently in the pipeline?

Well, after Hide Not Thou Thy Face comes out in November, I will be taking a much-needed Christmas break before finalising the format of my first Bobby Normal novella: Bobby Normal and the Eternal Talisman. I’ll give more specifics about this nearer the date, but it will be a story set around a couple of orphans in the time post-Divergence. We will finally get to explore the world after the rise of Kanor and the devastation caused by his constructs. This should be out in spring 2021. Close on its heels, next summer will be the aforementioned Sam Spallucci: Bloodline, with my sixth anthology If Ye Loathe Me coming out for Christmas 2021. Also, at some point during this publishing frenzy, I’m hoping to squeeze out a Sam Spallucci Omnibus which will contain the first three Sam books: Casebook, Ghosts and Shadows.This will be a nice glossy hardback to add to the collection. I just need to finalise the cover art and get my head around the new print format. Anyone know how to create clones? I really could do with one…

Anyway, I seem to have rambled on for far too long, so had better let you get back to your life.


Keep checking for what lurks in the shadows…


Monday 13 July 2020

Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls sees the light of day!

So, finally, after a year or so of teeth gnashing, soul searching and shirt ripping (well, probably two out of three of those…) Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls is finally in print. It’s only a year late, but who’s counting? I’m just pleased to see it happily alive and kicking after suffering from continual bouts of ill health and then the insanity of Lockdown. Hopefully it should be a dose of refreshing summer entertainment for established and new readers alike.

Troubled Souls follows straight on the heels of Sam Spallucci: Dark Justice. We see Sam co-opted into the hunt for a missing angelic companion of the mysterious, librarian styled, Sophia. Along the way he encounters a ghost in a local supermarket who happens to dressed as a Cherokee chieftain as well as an entity from another universe that has possessed an unfortunate teenage girl. 

However, the main connecting arc of the five cases concerns the ruthless serial killer known only as the Bare Lane Butcher. Sam and Spliff first track him down in Victorian Morecambe only to find him resurface in modern day Lancaster. Not only this, but he seems to have his sights set on someone near and dear to our poor hero. 

Throw in a good dose of apocalypse-loving, cowl wearing Kanor plus an actual face-to-face meeting for Sam and a certain fallen seraph, and you have my personal favourite of my Sam Spallucci books to date.

You can buy the book over on Amazon or order a signed copy from Yours Truly by messaging me through my website.


Something else which also has me excited is that I will be venturing over to the wonderful city of York on the 9th August for my first comic con since Lockdown began. York Unleashed is going to be a fantastic affair and a much welcome dose of geeky fun. I’ll even get to stalk the amazing David Warner who will be appearing as a guest. I can imagine it will be something akin to me just standing there and squeaking lots at him…


Then, once I’ve recovered from that, I will have to sit myself down and crack on with Sam Spallucci: Bloodline which is due out next summer (laughs inwardly at the notion of deadlines). Not only this, but I will be officially be launching my Patreon site. But more on that next time. 


All the best!


Thursday 4 June 2020

A very big thank you!!!

Welcome to June’s blog!

I want to use this as an opportunity to say a big “thank you” to all those who have helped me out with my Kickstarter for  Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls. It was launched on Monday 1st June and, quite incredibly, reached its target in under two hours! Needless to say, I was totally blown away by this. You guys are all incredibly generous and it has been wonderful to see people getting so excited about my new work.

The Kickstarter will run until the end of June. All the large rewards have now gone. These were the ones where your name appeared as a victim of the Bare Lane Butcher in the book or the sponsor had a talking role before being despatched by the serial killer’s cut throat razor. The most popular reward has been the signed copy of Troubled Souls accompanied by the signed copy of Children of Cain. There are only a few of these left now, so if you want that deal, you had best get in quick. Also running low are individual signed copies of Troubled Souls. I think there may only be about twelve left of these for the Kickstarter. To hop over to the Kickstarter, click here.

Once the Kickstarter has completed, there will be about two weeks where it will be finalised as payments come in. After that, the book will go to the printers and I am looking at a publication date at the beginning of August. Ideal timing for the summer!

But Troubled Souls is not the only book that I have coming out this year. In November, my next short story anthology Hide Not Thou Thy Face will hit the shelves. Following my usual anthology format, it will contain about eight or nine shorts of varying length. There will be two more prologues for Sam Spallucci 6 (Bloodline – due next year) as well as another “Dragon” short. One to really watch out for though is a short story set post-Divergence entitled The Virtuous Man. Those of you who have read Dark Justice should recognise the title from the prophecy concerning the individual who is supposed to be the hope for humanity after the rise of Kanor. More on that another time.

Something else to watch out for is an online store that I am currently putting together. I get asked a lot to post out signed books to my readers. Once this site is up and running, it should make accessing my signed books a lot easier. Again, watch this space for details.

Stay safe and look for what lurks in the shadows,

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls - Your Questions Answered!

In this month’s blog, I’ll be chatting about my forthcoming book, Sam Spallucci: Troubled Souls which, all being well, should hit the shelves in August this summer. The fifth book in the Sam Spallucci series, I’ve been asked loads of questions regarding it, so I thought this would be a good time to deliver some answers for those who are hungry for their next dose of Lancaster’s beleaguered investigator of the paranormal.

When is Troubled Souls set?
This next set of adventures is going to be set straight after Dark Justice and will deal with the fallout in Sam’s life, both professional and personal, that he suffered at the end of the last book. It will take place over about three weeks, bridging the festive (or not so festive) season and will climax in the new year.

Is this book a single storyline or a set of separate cases?
The easiest answer to that is probably, “both.” There are five cases in total: The Cherokee Checkout; The Distressed Demoniac; The Time Travelling Tearoom; The Dabbling Dominion and The Bare Lane Butcher. However, there are two strong over-riding arcs: one regarding Sam’s relationships with the supernatural beings that continually interfere with his life and the other being the Bare Lane Butcher, a serial killer who Sam tackles first in Victorian and then in modern-day Morecambe.

Is it true that you will be using characters from another author’s book?
It is indeed! I am delighted that Peter Cakebread allowed me to use Mulberry and Touchstone his detectoratorsfrom the fabulous Morecambe Medium. I read the book a few years back and fell in love with his style and, as I was reading it, wished that I could use the loveable detectives in one of my stories. I originally bounced the idea off Pete a couple of years ago and he gave me the go ahead. He was the first person to read the finished story that they appear in (Time Travelling Tearoom) and was delighted with the finished product.

Is there a real-life character appearing in Troubled Souls?
Sort of. There is going to be an author called Craig Shaw making an appearance as a researcher in the Bare Lane Butcher. He is actually based upon a good friend of mine, author Craig Hallam (click here for his blog). Craig loves all things Victoriana and Steampunkery, so I couldn’t resist using a character based upon him and he jumped at the chance to appear.

Will there be reappearances from characters in Sam’s universe?
Most definitely! I think it is safe to say that it is crammed full of readers’ favourites. As the cover art shows, Sophia plays a very central role as do her little travelling companions. Mister Tibbles, the familiar of Boom Box Betty will reappear in Tearoom and Dominion, causing chaos as he interferes with Sam’s life. Alec, Grace and Spliff will obviously be around as will a new love interest for one of them. I’m delighted to have DCI Jitendra Patel back in The Bare Lane Butcher where he enlists Sam’s help in hunting down the modern-day serial killer. Perhaps most excitingly though, two of Sam’s phantasmagorical nemeses will finally appear in the flesh: fallen seraph Lucifer and bringer of the divergence Kanor. I don’t want to say too much (spoilers and all), but the scene where Sam finally gets to meet Lucifer has to be possibly my favourite scene in the whole series so far.

Are there any new characters?
Off the top of my head, there are two new faces that we can expect to see again. The first is a ghost who is haunting a local supermarket whilst dressed as a Cherokee chieftain. He turned out so well, that I shall most likely use him again in a few books’ time. The second is a police officer by the name of Becks Mullen. WPC Mullen is driven and ambitious and will first appear in Bare Lane Butcher. Passionate about what she does, she will be butting heads with her ordered boss and will definitely be a character to watch when she reappears in Bloodline.

Is there going to be a Kickstarter for Troubled Souls?
I was very nervous about holding a Kickstarter for Songbird, but it was a resounding success, raising funds for the publication process and introducing new readers to my books. So, most definitely yes, there will indeed be a Kickstarter.
As well as the varying levels of backing which will give you access to artwork and books, there will also be two levels which will let you actually appear in the book! At one level you will have the chance to be named as a victim of the Bare Lane Butcher and on the highest level, you will actually have your name used for a speaking character in the book (before being brutally murdered of course).
All details will appear on my Kickstarter campaign which should launch in June. Here’s the link to my Kickstarter profile. Make sure to follow it to get more details as they are launched. I will also be posting updates on my Facebook page and in my Facebook Group, so make sure to subscribe to those and keep your eyes peeled!
After Troubled Souls, what will be next?
I have already started on the next two novels, Bloodline and Fury of the Fallen.
The first of these sees the Bloodline of Abel descend upon Lancaster. It will tie together all the little Easter eggs that I have been laying down since Shadows of Lancaster (I hope you’ve been watching carefully…) and will follow on from the three prologues from the anthologies Mourning Has Broken and Hide Not Thou Thy Face (this book is due out later on this year). Again, not wanting to give spoilers, but tears will be shed as there will be death and heartache… 
Fury of the Fallen will follow on directly from Bloodline and will have the fallen angels Asherah and Asmodeus interject themselves into Sam’s life. Sparks will definitely fly.

Well, I think that is all for now. I had better get back to causing chaos in Sam’s life.
Take care, stay safe and remember to look for what is lurking in the shadows…