New book release

Tomorrow is a lot of things. One of them is a book release for me. Since the other things mean I won’t be around much either tomorrow or Wednesday, volume two of The Pathfinders is going to have to release itself. As far as I know, it will be available from the Finch Books website only, so there’ll be time to have a blast when it goes on general release in August.

For those of you who can’t wait, click here for the Finch site.

Devastation

 

Devastation!

I know, I said the weekend was for promotion, but the big day is approaching and I’m liable to get bogged down in other stuff, so here is the reminder—Book Two of The Pathfinders is on early download from June 21st.

Devastation

You can find the blurb and an excerpt on my website here.

Expect more excerpts over the coming days, and if you haven’t read Abomination yet,

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what are you waiting for?

Get it from

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Cover reveal: Devastation

You probably already know that writing poetry and pieces of short fiction is not the be all and end all of my existence as a writer. I write novels too. They are unashamedly escapist, with elements of magic, fantasy and mythology, romance and humour, probably because that is how I would like life to be. The characters are young, full of energy, not little plaster saints, opinionated and courageous. I’ve come to like them as if they were not just my spiritual children, but flesh and blood.

The first series, The Green Woman, starts in a miserable, grey dystopia, violent and oppressive. You’d hardly expect it to be like Disney World, would you? It’s the story of Deborah’s journey to find herself, her mother and save the bit of the world that actually wants to be saved from itself. It ends in…well, you have to read the story to find out where it ends. Or if it even does.

The second series, The Pathfinders, is very different. Carla and Tully are caught in the Apocalypse. The story isn’t post-apocalyptic—the world is teetering on the brink waiting for the final act. Wormholes that loop through time and space run through the story like garlands on a Christmas tree but without the joyful connotations. Things travel through the wormholes, and most of them you wouldn’t want to meet, not even if you had a few anti-tank missiles handy.

The first volume, Abomination, was published in March by Finch Books. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. You’ll see why you should be preparing your plan B for the apocalypse right now.

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I have just received the cover art for the second volume, so I’ll post it here. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse than the Abomination, I’m afraid you’re in for a shock. Or maybe just a pleasant surprise. There are people like you, I know.

Devastation

Devastation will be available on early download from June 22. That gives you plenty of time to read Abomination first. If you like having the bejaysus scared out of you, of course. I’ve been told I write good horror stories. If you can stand the pace, you should look into this series.

You can find links, blurbs and extracts from all the novels here, or sign up for news about further publications here.

My book needs YOU

Some of you might be aware that I have a new book out, a very new book, and like all new books, it needs reviews. If you’d like to be a reviewer, read on.

Be warned, Abomination is the first book of a trilogy, it’s YA and it’s apocalyptic. If that sounds like your kind of thing, please read the blurb and have a look at the first few chapters on Amazon. If it still sounds like your kind of thing, and you feel you would like to read and review, please leave your contact address using the form below and I’ll ask the publisher to send you a copy.

Thanks a million for your help.

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Amazon US

Amazon UK

Abomination Blurb

As the end of the world begins, Carla and Tully hurtle through a wormhole five years forward in time, only to find they haven’t missed the Apocalypse after all.

Carla and Tully are picnicking in the quad of their international high school in central Paris when the end of the world begins. They are sucked into a wormhole that spits them out five years later to find that the world is a freezing desolation but still hanging on, waiting for something even worse to finish it off. The something worse turns out to be the Burnt Man and his horsemen. Taken prisoner by the Flay Tribe to their lair in the ruins of a shopping mall, Tully is forced to become a warrior, while Carla joins the other girls as a kitchen slave and comfort woman.

Tully might like the idea of playing soldiers, but Carla knows what is waiting for the girls when the food runs out, and it isn’t pleasant. The supermarket holy man’s vision of the return of the Burnt Man and his demon friends drags Tully back to reality. When the four fiends are reunited, the Apocalypse will really begin. Carla and Tully don’t plan on being there when that happens.

But in this post-Abomination world where only the young and brutal have survived, where food and fuel are running out and the climate is plunging into another final ice age, there is nowhere to run—except down another wormhole, with no idea of what might be waiting for them at the other end.

Abomination news

Two things. First, a five star rave review from Crystals Many Reviewers

Abomination (The Pathfinders #1) by Jane Dougherty #mf #YA @FinchBooks

(Don’t know why there’s a great chunk of white space here, but I can’t make it go away).

and this morning the postman brought my author copies of the book! It’s real—I’ve seen it, touched it. I believe!

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Amazon US

Amazon UK

It’s Abomination Day!

Today is a big day. Finbar’s stitches come out, and Abomination goes on general release. The digital version anyway;  the paperback comes out next week. Abomination is the first volume of The Pathfinders series and the great thing is, the sequels are already programmed for release—volume two in June and volume three in July. So there’s no fear I’ll do a GRR Martin on readers and make you wait five years between each volume.

 

AbomPromo

As the end of the world begins, Carla and Tully hurtle through a wormhole five years forward in time, only to find they haven’t missed the Apocalypse after all.

Carla and Tully are picnicking in the quad of their international high school in central Paris when the end of the world begins. They are sucked into a wormhole that spits them out five years later to find that the world is a freezing desolation but still hanging on, waiting for something even worse to finish it off. The something worse turns out to be the Burnt Man and his horsemen. Taken prisoner by the Flay Tribe to their lair in the ruins of a shopping mall, Tully is forced to become a warrior, while Carla joins the other girls as a kitchen slave and comfort woman.

Tully might like the idea of playing soldiers, but Carla knows what is waiting for the girls when the food runs out, and it isn’t pleasant. The supermarket holy man’s vision of the return of the Burnt Man and his demon friends drags Tully back to reality. When the four fiends are reunited, the Apocalypse will really begin. Carla and Tully don’t plan on being there when that happens.

But in this post-Abomination world where only the young and brutal have survived, where food and fuel are running out and the climate is plunging into another final ice age, there is nowhere to run—except down another wormhole, with no idea of what might be waiting for them at the other end.

Here’s a short excerpt.

At the sound of footsteps in the corridor, Tully tensed into a defensive stance, feet apart and fists clenched. The key turned in the lock and the door crashed open.

“Out!”

A small figure in too-big clothes stood outside brandishing a too-big rifle. Tully relaxed. “Where to, Rambo?”

“Never mind. And stop calling me Rambo.”

“What shall I call you then?”

“I don’t want you to call me anything. Just move!” The child’s voice rose to a nervous treble.

“Okay, Rambo, keep your shirt on. Or is it your big brother’s?”

The answer was a sharp poke in the back with the muzzle of the rifle.

“Just trying to be friendly.” Tully ambled outside. “No need to lose your rag.”

The dingy light in the corridor was enough for Tully to see the fresh bruises on the side of the boy’s face and the dirty smears left by tears.

“Hey,” Tully’s voice softened. “How did you do that?”

“None of your bloody business.” The boy’s voice was close to breaking. “Just get a move on or I’ll be the one that gets…”

“That gets what? They thumped you, didn’t they?” Tully clenched his fists again, this time in anger. “Those big bastards that you went off with. That’s how they get their fun is it? Picking on the little kids?”

“There are no other little kids. Anyway, the girls get it worse,” the child mumbled, conflicting expressions of shame and relief chasing one another across his face. The child soldier mask dropped and it was a frightened eleven-year-old who poured out his grief to Tully. “You joke about it, about Ace and, and…all this, but you don’t know what it’s like. Not to live like this. Every day. Knowing nothing’s going to change, except to get worse.”

“Go on then. Tell me,” Tully said gently. “I don’t understand what happened, but until a few hours ago, I was at school. Put me in the picture a bit. I’d appreciate it.”

The boy’s face took on a serious look, fear battling with responsibility. “The tribes is all that’s left now. You got to belong to one. Outside it’s just freezing cold and drax and other tribes.”

“Hold on. What’s a drax?”

“A drac. Drax is when there more’n one of the fuckers. Those dog things that got…That we… Outside, on the wire.”

“Oh yeah,” Tully murmured. “Got yah.”

“Anyway,” the boy went on, “it’s always cold, and there’s never enough to eat. At least in the beginning there was me and Kat.” His weary face brightened a little, as if just saying the name was a rare comfort to him. “But they took her away, put her with all the other girls.” He stopped as if the thought was too hurtful to bear. When he spoke again it was in a dry whisper. “They all…died, all the little kids, all the kids I used to play with. I’m the only one left. I’ll always be just The Little’Un.” He snuffled and wiped his nose quickly on his sleeve. “My name’s Jeff.”

Tully held out his hand. “Tully. Glad to know you, Jeff.”

Jeff made a feeble attempt at a smile and Tully grasped his hand. It was a hard, dry hand, wrinkled and coarse—not a child’s hand at all. It represented a lost childhood, and the touch of the rough skin moved Tully more than anything else.

“Right then,” he said briskly, afraid of setting off more tears. “Let’s get moving. We don’t want to upset the King of Shit Valley now, do we?”

“They’re going to make you fight Tab this morning, before he gets loose again.” Jeff let out the words in a rush then looked about nervously.

“If Tab’s one of them that thumped you, I’ll be pleased to have a poke at him.”

Jeff looked at the floor and said in a barely audible voice, “Tab got bit by a mad drac. It was Tab what tried to break your door down last night.”

Tully got a sick feeling as his stomach sank several floors below the basement. “By fight, do you mean like fisticuffs, the Queensbury rules and all that?”

Jeff looked at him, a puzzled expression on his face. Tully swallowed. “Can you give us a loan of your rifle, then?”

If you like the sound of it, you can get a copy here

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

200 word story: Lutecia

I love writing utopias, I just have problems stopping the human characters messing them up. Sacha Black’s challenge this week is to write a story about a utopia in less than 200 words. Mine usually run for a trilogy of novels, but this is a teaser for the sequel to Abomination. It’s set in a utopia, but obviously, it’s not going to stay utopic for long.

Painting ©:Alexander Samokhvalov

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They stepped outside into the sunshine that fell through the vines of the pergola. Yvain and Jack were deep in argument about pigs, the others trooping behind. Carla and Tully stood in the doorway of the auberge, listening to the murmur of voices, the birds fluting among the leaves, the chink of glasses, and letting the sunlight fall on their faces. Carla was on the point of saying something about how idyllic Lutecia seemed, when the spell was broken. A couple of men shifted in their chairs, catching her eye. Even beneath the bright sunlight their skin looked grey and unhealthy, and the expression in their eyes was pure hatred.

She squeezed Tully’s hand and dragged him after the others into the lane.

“Did you see?”

“Those grey-faced characters?”

“What did we do?”

Tully shrugged. “Maybe they didn’t like Dad’s jokes.”

“Seriously. It’s followed us, hasn’t it? Whatever it was back at the mall that…”

Tully kissed her forehead. “Yvain will know what’s going on. I hope.”

Carla glanced over her shoulder. The grey men had gone. The familiar cold terror settled back into the pit of her stomach.

Flash fiction: Stronzo

 

A retelling of a scene from Abomination, the first book of The Pathfinders series from Carla’s point of view. It was going to be for Sacha Black’s flash fiction challenge about struggle, but it’s too long. Back to the drawing board…

Photo ©Concha García Hernández

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Carla fought back the waves of panic.

Stronzo!

It was Tully she meant, not the runty little arsehole who’d just slapped her. Tully, standing there with that cocky look on his face, squaring up to a bunch of brutes all armed with assault rifles. What in the name of fuck did he think he was playing at?

A fist swung and Tully gasped, doubled over clutching his stomach.

“I’ll ask you that one again.” The thin voice of the pale, lanky chief made Carla’s flesh creep. “Are you a warrior or the next sacrifice?”

Carla refused to listen to any more of Tully’s smart arse answers. She faced the chief thug, defying him to ignore her.

“We’re not warriors and we’re not sacrifices. We just don’t understand what—”

Casually, without even taking his eyes off Tully, the pale-eyed chief slapped her again. Her cheek stung with pain, tears stung her eyes but she refused to let them fall. She crouched down, refused to look at Tully, to listen to his blustering threats. She had nothing to hang onto—her certitudes, her easy, cosy existence, all blown to bits. And Tully. She bit back a sob. Tully was hurtling into the unknown. But she refused to… She refused.

Boots shuffled; a rifle nudged her in the side.

“Up.”

She raised her head slowly. Too slowly.

“I said get up!” the evil voice screamed, and she winced as the rifle jabbed again, harder this time.

Porca puttana Madonna.

Gritting her teeth she got to her feet. Tully. His face. Aglow with excitement, thrilled to bits with himself for striking a deal with Adolf Hitler.

Coglione.

Where had Tully gone? The old Tully she thought she knew. He looked at her, a flash of compassion, a hand making the gesture of reaching out.

“Move!”

He chattered, his smart quips flying, bouncing of the fuckwit guards who responded only to the orders of their leader. She followed. Her world had shrunk to the extent of her body heat. Beyond was cold and darkness. She refused to believe it was over. She refused.

 

New series begins

I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ve waited so long already and the launch is practically upon us! The first volume of my YA series about wormholes, the apocalypse and a pair of young lovers is about to be released. January 26th to be precise. Here’s the cover for starters.

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Here’s the Finch Books holding page while the website clunks into action

https://www.finch-books.com/

and here’s a short excerpt from the opening chapters of Abomination.

 

Carla screamed, and the pile of dining chairs tottered and collapsed into an impossible tangle. Tully‘s face hit the floor, as the whole cellar seemed to rise and fall back with a deafening crash. From the floors above came an ominous rumbling and the cascading shriek of breaking glass.

He shoved backward, hard. A table skittered sideways, shedding its load of baskets and boxes over his back, and he was free. Carla was crouched by the door, pointing the flashlight down the corridor. She turned as Tully blundered to join her.

“I couldn’t hold him!” Her eyes were distraught. “He ran off behind the boiler.”

Tully’s annoyance dissolved instantly. Carla was almost at the end of her rope.

“Let’s go get him then,” he said, with what he hoped was a jaunty air, “before the whole bloody building falls down.”

They ran to the end of the corridor, Tully wondering if he was completely mad, playing hide and seek with a spoilt moggy in the middle of an earthquake.

“Come on, Tattoo. Time to get in your basket,” Carla cajoled. A stripy tail flicked in and out of sight in the shadows behind the boiler.

“Here. Try this.” Tully fished a squashed piece of focaccia out of his jacket pocket. “I was saving it for later,” he explained apologetically. Tattoo poked his nose out and sniffed. “Get ready.” One paw crept forward then another, nose and whiskers twitched with interest, as Tully placed the oil-scented bread on the floor just out of the cat’s reach. He flexed his hands and braced himself, ready to lose a couple of fingers.

Suddenly the cat froze, whiskers trembling in agitation, ears flicked back against his skull, and fur standing on end. Tully lunged and the cat backed away spitting, backing away not from Tully’s hands but from a round hole in the wall. It was a hole the size of a manhole cover, a hole that contained a blackness darker than any blackness Tully had ever seen, a blackness that vibrated and whined and moved like ink spreading through a glass of black water. Intrigued, Tully reached out a questing hand to the hole, the vibrating emptiness, whatever it was.

 

Carla shouted a warning, No! and grabbed his other hand to pull him away as the ground shifted and buckled again. As they staggered, falling, floundering, the hole appeared to tip toward them, growing in size, reaching out to enclose them both. Above their heads the building shook itself apart, and they plunged into the humming darkness.