Tapping IT

When I first moved into horror, both in my reading and my writing, there was one author I aspired to. I loved (love) Clive Barker, Dean Koontz and many more, but the writer I read the most, and wished to be, was Stephen King. I read all his books, including his memoir and writing guide On Writing. One of my absolute favourites was, and still is, IT. Yes, it can be heavy going at times, but the essence of the story, the cast and the ‘baddie’ are classic.

Pennywise. How many characters have captured the imagination of and terrified so many?

Of course, Tim Curry’s portrayal was iconic. It will be so difficult to beat him, but Bill Skarsgård looks to be equalling Curry’s might. And I can’t wait.

Released this Friday, the 8th of September, IT is already being applauded by critics. So, why am I telling you this? Well…

As you may know, I’ve worked on some amazing campaigns for Wattpad. The Purge: Anarchy, Sinister II, The Boy, Goosebumps, DC Comics and Incarnate. Wow. I’m amazed at how lucky I’ve been. Now, Wattpad, earlier this year, launched their Tap platform. Tap brought a new style of stories to the world – that of text conversations. It’s been a massive success and I have loads of stories on there. Recently, the people behind Tap, Wattpad and Warner Brothers got their heads together for the movie. They wanted a story based on the film and… they wanted… ME to write it!

Yes, ME! I was stunned. I’d previously written my ‘Imagines’ story To Kill a King, in which you, the reader, were shown the King’s secrets. It would always be a dream to work with or for or in some way to do with Stephen King. And, yet again, Wattpad made that dream come true.

So. Do you want to join The Loser’s Club? Do you want to venture into The Barrens? If you haven’t already got the app (it’s free), download it now and then you can float too…..!


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Tap Your Own Ending

Dare you go down into cellar? If you do, then you make the rules, thanks to the latest innovation from Wattpad’s amazing Tap app!

If you haven’t heard of it yet, TAP is an app from the Wattpad team that redefines how you read stories. Do you find it difficult to fit in the time to read a story. Do you get so far then are unable to revisit the chapter for weeks due to life getting in the way?

If so, TAP may well be the answer to your escapism dreams.

The format turns a tale into a text. You delve into the minds and lives of two or more people chatting to each other by phone. As it’s name suggests, you go through the conversation by tapping an area at the bottom of the screen thus revealing the next message. And maybe the best part? You can generally read the whole thing in five minutes! Yup!

You might think that’s fairly limited,but I have to disagree! The range of stories on Tap is amazing. You have horror, romance, Fanfiction and so much more. And now, you have the ability to make the story your own. 

Wattpad have introduced Choose Your Own Ending!

That’s right! As you make your way through the conversation, you are given choices. Open the door or climb the ladder. Eat the pasta or throw it in their face. You decide. 

In the case of my latest Tap story, you… Well, I’ll let you discover for yourself. Suffice to say, there’s a zombie in your cellar. Maybe the last one. And you just have to investigate… 


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New Beginnings

Happy new year to all you lovely people. I do hope we you’ve had a wonderful time over the holidays and are ready to start 2017 running! I know I am! I already have one story, Just Jack, in an anthology by The Cryptic on Wattpad.

Just Jack is my tribute to the Jack the Ripper legend. My good friend, the author Greg Carrico, had written the amazing story Undone – Ripper themed. When I was at the Wattpad London Conference with him and author a Wayne Sharpe, another ripper ‘fan,’ we visited the area (at Tower Bridge) where Greg had based his story and went on a very well done Ripper walk.

When I was asked to write for The Cryptic anthology, I knew I had to do my own taken on the legend. Just Jack is the result.  It’s already been called my best work! 

Since the beginning of October, when I worked on the Incarnate movie, I’ve written no less than SEVEN stories for various anthologies! More on those in my next post but you may be wondering why I started this with a picture of the Red Queen cover? 

It’s because I’m delighted and humbles to say, Red Queen won an award in the Fairytale Community’s Retelling Awards! How amazing is that? Not only that but Sin won a WATTY AWARD! 

Wow. Just wow. 

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Ash vs Evil Dead – Mental, Cliched and Wonderful…

30 years ago, a group of teenagers opened a book, read a few words, as you do, and unleashed lots of really not very nice evil thingies onto the unsuspecting cinema going public.  Filled with glorious tongue in cheek humour, buckets of spurting blood and a handy chainsaw, the Evil Dead series was brilliant.
From the mind of Sam Raimi, who brought us Spiderman, Xena, Drag Me to Hell, Darkman and Oz the Great and Powerful and starring Bruce Campbell, The Evil Dead was deliberately low budget and deliberately over the top.  It blew me away.  It was so easy to get washed away by the tsunami of blood and to lose yourself in the dark humour and snappy one liners.
I loved it.
When I saw the trailer for Ash vs Evil Dead, I really couldn’t wait.  It looked completely mental and took me right back to the glory days of the original film.  At first, I thought it was a new film, not realising it was a series.  It may well have been made obvious in the trailer, but I was probably jumping up and down, clapping my hands at the time so missed it.
It wasn’t until last night, actually watching the show, that I figured my mistake.  A series?  Even better!  So much more evil-slaying to throw at us.
So.  Did it live up to the hype (not necessarily the media hype, but more my own anticipation)?
Hell yes!
From the outset, when Ash pulls on his corset and drops by the bar for a drink and a little more, the show grabs hold of you and drags you along on the ride of your life.  With his friend at the store (reminiscent of Reaper – no bad thing) pushing him to fight the evil, Ash battles grannies as a police officer fights creatures that give Linda Blair a run for her head spinning money.

The only problem with a TV series is you have to wait for a whole week until the next episode and I’m impatient for more.  Ash vs Evil Dead is groovy enough to make sure the wait is worthwhile.

I tweeted, after watching, saying it was ‘over the top, mad, non stop and fairly clichéd’.  I was a little star struck when the official, actual team tweeted me back saying they took offence at being called ‘fairly clichéd’.  They told me they’re completely clichéd’!
Almost every horror film, nowadays, is a cliché.  The stories have been done so many times before, in one form or another, it’s difficult to find something original.
Ash vs Evil Dead really doesn’t care.  It embraces this with aplomb, a word I really don’t think I’ve ever used before.
If you like your horror with an ocean of blood, over the top craziness and laugh out loud humour, make sure you meet up with Ash – you won’t regret it.

Just don’t shake his hand.
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Something Sinister this way comes…

Every so often, something big comes your way.  It’s not necessarily a major deal to anyone else, but to you – it’s a mindblower.  It can involve large amounts of money, children, marriage, a job offer you can’t refuse…  There are lots of things.

Writing, for me, is something I’ve done all my life.  From being a child, I’ve scribbled down stories.  Yes, there have been times I’ve not written much, due to various issues and a distinct lack of time, but now it’s an essential part of my life.  I even have tattoos depicting my love of the craft.

Well.  Last year, I was approached by the wonderful Wattpadto ask if I’d be willing to write an original story based on the premise of the movie The Purge.  The sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, was coming out and Universal was working with Wattpad, which gets in excess of 14 million unique visitors a month, to help promote the film.  My book, Sin, is apparently one of their top mystery/thrillers and they thought I’d be ideal to write for the film.  I wrote Mr. Composure, a story which was described as ‘the best story ever’ and had ‘the best plot twist ever’.  To say I was honoured to have been asked is an understatement.

This was one of those big things.

Imagine my shock-surprise-elation when I received a similar request this year!

Universal were releasing Sinister 2, the follow up to the hit horror, Sinister.  They were working with Wattpad once again.  This time, however, they specifically asked for me as they were so pleased with my work on Mr. Composure!

Erm…  WOW!!

I’d seen, and enjoyed, the first film.  I liked the premise too.  I just had to come up with an idea.  With The Purge’s Mr. Composure, my wife had given me the inspiration for the opening (often that’s all I need to run with a story).  I could then write and see where it went.  For Sinister 2, the studio wanted an overview of the story first.  GULP!  I usually don’t work like that – the story takes its own path and I run along behind, picking up the words and trying to throw them together in some semblance of order.  It meant I had to have a full idea of the story before I’d even written it.  Now, I know lots of authors work like that.  They plan each chapter with a full idea of the story arc and then flesh it out.  As I don’t, this was a new experience for me.

But, I did it.  My little girl, who’s 4, told me I could keep her imaginary friend, Nathaniel (a name we’ve never used as we don’t know anyone with that name) forever…  Erm…  Yes…  Needless to say, Nathaniel seemed to fit perfectly for what I needed here.  I wrote the story.  Suffer the Little Children is that story and, apparently, it’s ‘genuinely terrifying’, which is nice!

So, that’s two big things.  Two reasons for me to put my hand to my mouth and go “WOW!”  Not just being asked to write the stories in the first place, but because of the amazing response and support I’ve had for them too.

So, thank you Wattpad, thank you Universal and a ‘big’ thank you to you guys.  It is appreciated!

Now, of course, I am working on my next story.  My eldest daughter (12 years old) gave me a bizarre and somewhat twisted idea of The Little Mermaid as a sort of challenge.  I’m almost 10,000 words in and I’m happy to say, I’m rising to that challenge.  And the Meek Shall Walk is coming along nicely, though the Little Mermaid, to my knowledge, didn’t have blood or decapitation in it…

For further reading, here’s the links to the stories above:

Suffer the Little Children:


Mr. Composure:

And the Meek Shall Walk:

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