#writephoto: Abomination

The photo is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto Thursday Photo Prompt. It’s cheeky, I know, but it made me think of a scene from the beginning of Abomination, a not very pleasant scene, my contribution this week.


Tully groped about in the darkness until he found Carla’s hand. He had no idea if he had stopped falling, or if he had been moving at all. All he remembered was the sensation of being nowhere, of being nothing, nobody. Atoms dispersed in the void. Then he remembered the voices and a blind fear rose up and grabbed at his throat until he felt sick.

Calm down, he ordered himself. You’re not in pain and Carla’s here beside you.

“Carla?” he croaked, and the sound of his voice revealed the other sounds he had not noticed before, the faint tremor of Carla’s breath, a scraping when he moved a stone with his foot, the faint sigh that came from his rucksack when he shifted his weight on it. And the darkness was no longer total. Vague silhouettes cut the dim light in one direction. Carla squeezed his hand.

“Tully? You okay?”

“It’s too dark to see the blood,” he said, “but I think I can cope with the pain.”

He grinned hopefully but Carla’s face was strained, weary. “We must be trapped in the cellar. There was a quake. It sounded like the building came down on top of us.” Her eyes opened wide. “Tattoo!”

Carla felt about her as if she couldn’t decide if she was upright or lying down, sat up, waited for her head to stop spinning, then swaying slightly, got to her feet.

“Tattoo,” she called louder. Tully scrambled up too and took her hand. Together they made their way to the pale glimmer of light. “Hey, Tattoo! I see him.”

They stumbled toward the small shape, crouched and waiting, his tail twitching. The cat stayed where he was, giving no sign of recognition.

“It’s me, Carla, stupid! The one who opens the tins, remember?” She reached out her hand and the cat retreated, ears flush against his skull, his upper lip curled back in fear. “Tattoo?”

Carla moved another step forward and the cat turned and fled, scuttling off into the dim gray light. Carla ran after him. Ten strides and she stopped. Tully saw her clearly against the wan light from outside, saw her stop, wait, saw her press her hands to her mouth, then he ran to her.

They were standing in the mouth of a cave—grotto, tunnel, an opening of some kind—whether in a hill or simply a mound of debris it was impossible to tell in the gloom. All Tully could make out was a jumble of irregular hillocks, more like a gigantic rubbish tip than a site of natural beauty. More than the gloom, it was the sense of hostility that made him want to back out of sight, his eyes sliding furtively after half-seen movements. Carla pointed, her eyes wide with horror. He followed the direction of her pointing finger and what he saw made him glad there was so little light.

Tattoo was creeping, backing up to a shifting heap, away from the rippling movement that surrounded him. The ripples leapt and squirmed, squealed and chattered. Tully saw naked scaly tails and colorless fur among the ripples. Carla formed Tattoo’s name silently, helplessly, as the cat, his fur bushed up, one paw raised in hopeless defense, was submerged beneath the wave of rats. Carla sobbed and Tully hid her face on his shoulder. It was over in seconds, but the single scream of terror and despair rang in his ears long after Tattoo’s body had been ripped to shreds and carried away to the vermin’s nest.


If the story grabs you, you can get it here:





New book release: Revelation

It is with great embarrassment that I reveal that on checking on the Finch Books website for the release date of Revelation, the third volume of The Pathfinders I discover that it’s today. Unnoticed by all, including me, which is a shame, because it’s a bloody good story though I say so myself.

Authors are supposed to be gung ho about promoting their work, praising it to the skies and shoving excerpts and banners in the faces of the general publick until they provoke rioting and lynch mobs. I’m going to kick against tradition and just say that I wrote it, I enjoyed writing it tremendously, and I think it’s pretty good. But nobody in their right mind would take the author’s word for the quality of a novel. You have to read it for yourself. There’s always the ‘look inside’ feature before you commit your pennies. It costs nothing.

The Pathfinders is a trilogy to be read in order, so if you haven’t started it yet, there’s not much point in banging on about number three. If you have read Abomination and Devastation, you can find Revelation here.




Microfiction Bronze Ocean II

Part I is here


For half a day he fell, tumbling over and over like a clumsy autumn leaf, until, as the last rays of the sun shot across its smooth burnished surface, he hit the bronze ocean.

Down, down, down he shot into depths so deep his lungs should have burst, instead he felt nothing but the slick, heavy caress of the liquid metal.

He surfaced, breathless but unharmed, floating on the languid bronze swell, and gazed into a checkerboard sky of rainbow colours and flashing lights until a bank of pink mist rolled over him, alive with the hoarse, joyful cry of gulls.

Fiction or fantasy?

I’ve written often, ad nauseam some will probably say, about young adult readers, who they are, and does it matter. For a change, I thought I’d dip into another questionable category that I have trouble with—fantasy. Fiction is opposed to fact. Logically, all made-up writing is fiction, stuff that didn’t happen and, in some cases, never could happen because the situations described are so ludicrous. Yet there exists a category known as fantasy in which things that didn’t happen and possibly never could happen are segregated from other unbelievable, unrealistic fictions.
So, what’s the difference between fiction and fantasy? The notion of acceptable and unacceptable reality has never existed in children’s literature. Not even in the days when there were just children and adults, and young adults hadn’t been invented. In children’s literature it has always been accepted that wardrobes might lead into magical worlds, you could have wrinkles in time, and visitors from parallel worlds are reasonably common. They are all just STORIES.
Probably most adults believe in the supernatural, and I include God and angels in this bracket. They believe in things they haven’t seen, that defy the laws of logic and physics. People gamble on lucky numbers, wear lucky charms, recite lucky incantations. We don’t believe in coincidence. Since forever, human beings have invented and woven, mysteries, legends, impossible stories around rocks, rivers, memorable people and events. That is how stories began.
Something has changed in our perception of reality. As far as literature is concerned, reality is not real unless it is so absolutely familiar as to be on the limit of boring. Literary fiction has to be so founded in what most of us have either experienced or can imagine experiencing in the ordinary run of events, as to be almost predictable. The ‘might have been’, the ‘could be’, the ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if’ have no place in the new definition of literature. The pure, cold beauty of the language, the way phrases are constructed, replaces the wild flights of fancy of the old storytellers. Introversion and dreary interior monologues on interminable journeys to nowhere have replaced escapes from enemies with incredible superpowers, elopements and betrayals, curses, compromises, battles, wars and adventures in the shape of birds and animals. This ‘realistic’ school of fiction is the one that is equated with ‘literary’. Everything else is ‘genre’ and considerably lower down the food chain.
If you look at the Amazon classification of such flights of magical fantasy as The Earthsea Cycle, you will find that the words ‘literary fiction’ are far more in evidence than the word ‘fantasy’. Same for The Handmaid’s Tale. ‘Dystopian’ doesn’t even figure. They are classics, therefore they cannot be lumbered with the slightly pejorative epithet of ‘fantasy’. I don’t mind admitting that The Green Woman series and The Pathfinders are fantasy since most stories are pure fantasy. It would be nice, though, to think that this admission wasn’t tantamount to agreeing that I write second-rate literature.
What do you think? It ain’t what you write it’s the way that you write it?

This post wouldn’t be complete without a plug for my books, would it?
Why not try The Dark Citadel for starters. It’s only 99c/p and it might change your life 🙂



A pretty fine review of Abomination

Endorsements don’t come much better than this.
A very entertaining read, 27 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Abomination (The Pathfinders Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is intelligent and sophisticated YA fiction that adults can also enjoy. Beautifully written with heaps of tension and dramatic conflict, there is also plenty of genuine horror and a fair amount of tongue-in-cheek humour. The dialogue is natural and realistic, the atmosphere edgy and sinister, and this post-apocalyptic future is a bleak and brutal setting for the two likeable protagonists, who must use all their wits to survive. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to book two.

Author’s note
If you haven’t got your copy yet, there’s still time. I can hold up the apocalypse long enough for you to finish it.

#Three line tales: The end of the beginning of the end

My apologies to Sonya for hijacking her three line tales photo prompt (photo ©Breno Machado), but the opportunity is just too good to miss. It’s a scene from the end of Abomination. You can download the entire novel free here




With the sound of a skyfull of canvas ripping, lightning lit up their anxious faces, and Carla saw her own terror reflected in Tully’s eyes.

Instinctively, they all huddled closer as hail beat like automatic fire on the loose metal sheeting of the roof, and a desperate wailing rose above the din of the storm.

‘That’s not the storm,’ Carla whispered as Tully’s arms tightened around her. ‘That’s drax, and they’re bringing the Burnt Man with them.’

New book release

Today is release day for Devastation, second volume of The Pathfinders series



If you have already read Abomination, you can buy Devastation here:


Amazon. UK

If you haven’t read Abomination yet, you can download a free copy here




So you have NO EXCUSE! Obviously, I’d rather you read it too, but just a little download would be nice.



Abomination teaser

The world of the Abomination is a freezing, decaying jungle run by brutish young men with a completely unhinged leader. If you want a peep inside, here is a short excerpt from Abomination, a story within a story, of teenage boys behaving (very) badly. Just click on the image to read or download.

If you’re still on board when you’ve read it, the purchase links for the whole story are below.


Pete's Story

Buy Abomination here at the amazingly low price of 99c/p

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Spam, spam, spam, spam…

On August 16, Devastation, the second volume of The Pathfinders, goes on general release. To celebrate, there are going to be special offers. First is a new low price for Abomination.


If you feel like splashing out you can get it here

Amazon UK

Amazon US.

You know what it’s about, you know it’s full of nasty plot twists and unbearable psychological suspense, so why not treat yourself?

Alternatively, you could wait for the 16th and the FB party to see if the offer gets any better.

Two new reviews for Abomination!


I discovered this morning that Abomination has two new reviews! This is the first one, more than a month old—shows how much I keep my eye on the ball.

Enjoyably gritty evocation of a post-apocalyptic world, 20 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Abomination (The Pathfinders Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great setup. I’m always fascinated by these “lights-out” scenarios. And with its gritty evocation of a not-too-unlikely future, I think the Pathfinders series is ready to take its place in the canon alongside the Hunger Games and Insurgent series.

Having it set in France was also an interesting twist as most of these kinds of books are American-based (although I did wonder about the lack of French speakers in the post-apocalyptic world later on!). The two main characters, Carla and Tully, were likeable and smart and, as a previous reviewer has said, very “human” and believable as imperfect and somewhat idealistic teens.

[Plotspoiler warning!!]. Once they arrive through the wormhole, the evocation of the place was well-drawn and chilling. Again, great characters. I imagined the tribe leader “Ace” as a young Axl Rose – sullen, whiny, but full of power and menace. The action moved nicely along to a conclusion, giving us some good insights into the life of the tribe in the world-after-the-Abomination. However, I got a tad confused in the final few chapters. There is a lot here – time and/or interdimensional travel, shapeshifters or zombies, a power-hungry Dark Lord type called The Burned Man, all the different renegade tribes with their group- and gender politics, mutant beasts, all overlaid with a religious symbolism mentioning the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I would have liked a bit more explanation of how the Burned Man and general “evil” came about and/or how it manifested itself. I was also unsure who the Eblis character actually was (They said it was Jack earlier but he seems unaware of it. Perhaps it is Carla? Maybe this was deliberately left murky) I expect all this will be forthcoming in the next book, which I look forward to reading.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Abomination in return for a fair and honest review.

And the second, just posted, is this one from Sacha. So flattering I’m the colour of a traffic stop light.

Beautiful, Gory, and descriptively stunning., 27 July 2016
This review is from: Abomination: Volume 1 (The Pathfinders) (Paperback)
Doughty is a master weaver of apocalyptic settings. Her world is hauntingly realistic. Her story is not for the faint of heart, you can tell that Dougherty would slay any red-eyed hell demon that dared cross her path. If you love descriptively stunning books, this is for you. Her style is a rich poetic prose and yet flows with the ease of any other YA novel. Personally, I feel it’s right at the upper end of Young Adult, if not New Adult with it’s frequent juicy language and beautifully raw-gore descriptions. I loved it. It unsettled me and made me uncomfortable in all the right places. HIGHLY recommended.

Thanks a million to both of you. If I knew who you were, Lilac Hell, I’d send you personalized big hugs. Sacha would get them anyway.
If these reviews tempt you to read Abomination, give in to your primal urge and buy it now. All three volumes are available so you don’t have to wait any longer than the press of a button to find out who, if anyone is Eblis Azazel and what, if anything, does it matter.