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Writing update – October 2017

Posted on by David Wailing

It’s been a very long time since I updated this blog, but at least it’s for a good reason…

In recent months I have been focused almost entirely on writing. So my main piece of news is that my new novel Under is now completely written!

Under is a horror/mystery novel – with some aspects of a historical – set in the London Underground. This is the culmination of my long-standing interest in the Tube and all of its strange and shadowy corners.

Although the novel finally exists, there is some way to go before it can be published.

I currently have a few beta-readers casting their laser-sharp eyes over it, so I anticipate there being corrections and rewrites in response to their feedback. This can be quite an anxious time for an author, when the work is finally exposed to other people, following months or years of it being developed. It’s a bit like sending your child to the first day of school!

Once the book is finalised, I plan to submit it to Kindle Scout. This is a website that allows authors to upload an opening excerpt from their brand new book. There it can be read and nominated for publication with Kindle Press, which is part of Amazon. This is when I will be asking my readers for their help in spreading the word, and when you can read the beginning of Under for free.

If Under isn’t successful with Kindle Scout then it will be independently published on Amazon, as with all my other books. However, this time I plan to include a paperback version alongside the eBook.

All of the above means that, as per the image on this post, you can expect Under to finally arrive in early 2018 rather than this year. Although this is later than planned, I hope it will be worth the wait.

In the meantime, for anyone who hasn’t already read it, my short story Signal Failure remains free to download from Amazon. This acts as a prelude to Under, telling the story of what happens when a Night Tube train becomes stuck in the tunnel between stations and all the lights go off…

You can also download a few more of my free eBooks from this site.

Fifth Season – 5/5 free promo

Posted on by David Wailing

Duncan was nine years old on 5/5. The day the extra season came.

He had just got used to the reversed seasons in Australia when Nova began, shoving boring old Autumn out of the way and pushing in between it and Winter. A new season of unrelenting starshine and luminous nights.

For Duncan, it was the most exciting thing ever! All the rest of the world wanted to know was: when will Nova end?

And will the world end with it?

 

Fifth Season is a short story that was released as a Kindle eBook in 2012. Back then, there was a lot of interest in the idea that because the ancient Mayan calendar ended on 21st December 2012, that time would also run out for all of us and the entire world would come to an end.

That idea was the inspiration for this story which is actually set over four years later, on 5th May 2017 – a day that is soon known around the world as 5/5 when an unexpected new season suddenly dawns.

Now that date has come around and will soon be a reality! So to celebrate this, Fifth Season will be FREE to download from Amazon for five days, starting on 4th May.

Whether the new season, Nova, will also become a reality is something we will have to wait and see…

The eBook contains a second short story called Nineteen Seventy-Steve. Like Fifth Season, this is written from a young boy’s point of view but is set in the past rather than the near future. For anyone who was young in the Seventies, there may be some bittersweet nostalgia reading this one! As a bonus, it also includes some drabbles, micro-stories which are exactly 100 words long.

You can download Fifth Season for FREE via smarturl.it/fifthseason 

Download more free eBooks from David Wailing.

Find out more about Fifth Season.

Writing update – February 2017

Posted on by David Wailing

We apologise for the slow running of this website. This is due to a signal failure…

Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but unfortunately my blog was down for well over a month. However, normal service has now been resumed so here is a new blog post!

At the moment, there is little to report other than an update on my current writing project, Under. This is a horror/mystery novel set on the London Underground that has been in the pipeline (or perhaps ‘in the tunnel’) for the past year or so.

On this page you can see some of my research for Under. It’s not quite as daunting as it looks, since most of those books are as entertaining as they are informative, and frankly I love this kind of thing! I have also been scouring the internet, chatting to various experts and even visiting abandoned Underground stations.

To dedicate some proper writing time to this book, I have taken a few months off my editing work. Being able to do so is one of the great benefits of being a self-employed freelancer, and I’m sure authors who have proper day jobs are snarling at me with jealousy. I well remember many years of sitting in offices thinking I would do anything to be at home writing instead.

On the downside, this also means I’m literally giving up several months’ worth of income to write something which is very unlikely to earn me the same amount in book sales. Sometimes being a writer means risking a great deal for your art.

Last year I released the free short story Signal Failure, which is also set on the London Underground – the world’s first Night Tube fiction! This acts as a prelude to Under and was also a way of testing the water (or maybe ‘laying the track’) for that style of story.

I’m very pleased to say that many readers enjoyed it and were generous with their reviews, although some were frustrated that it offered few answers. This is the nature of a prelude to a mystery novel so I hope that when Under is published, it alleviates their frustration.

As to when exactly it will be published… despite my recent progress, it’s still a little early to say! But it will definitely be later in 2017, and it will be available in both paperback and eBook formats.

To be informed as soon as Under is available, sign up to my mailing list.

In the meantime, Signal Failure remains free to download as a Kindle eBook from Amazon. You can also download a few more of my free eBooks from this site.

Three free novels for 1-5 January 2017

Posted on by David Wailing

auto-bang-and-fake-kate-promo-1-jan-2017-blog

Three of my novels will be FREE to download from Amazon on 1st to 5th January 2017!

Use the links below to download your free eBooks from the Amazon store in your country:

Bang: www.smarturl.it/bang

Fake Kate: www.smarturl.it/fakekate

Auto: www.smarturl.it/auto1

Find out more about Bang, Fake Kate and Auto.

Other free downloads of my work are available, including the recent short story Signal Failure.

If you don’t have a Kindle, use the links below to download the free Kindle reading app for your tablet, smartphone or PC.

An interview with author Jonathan Hill

Posted on by David Wailing

jonathan-hillWhat can I say about Jonathan Hill (that won’t result in getting sued for libel)? A sickeningly talented and ridiculously prolific writer who is high on my list of competing authors to assassinate.

Actually I’m a big fan of Jonathan’s work, especially his Maureen series. This is despite the fact that his hilarious creation still hasn’t appeared in the science fiction space opera epic that I know will be the best thing he’s ever written, if only he’d bloody write it.

Jonathan has a new story out for the festive period, and so in the spirit of Christmas, I got him drunk (by simply pointing at a bottle of red) and asked him some questions.

1. Have you finished ‘Maureen on the Moon’ yet?

Ah, now how did I know that this was going to come up? David has been asking me this question since almost before Maureen came into existence. In short, no. I’ve written ‘Maureen under the Moon’ and ‘Maureen in the Moon’, but not the title you so obsess over.

[Note: Jonathan got this question wrong. The correct answer is ‘Yes’.]

2. Your most recent release is ‘A Christmas Outing’. What was the original motivation for writing it?

I usually release something around Christmastime and, with the exception of last year’s dark ‘The Anniversary’, that something is usually light-hearted. Despite exploring some dark subjects in my books, I’ve always enjoyed writing comedy and ‘A Christmas Outing’ was a chance for me to present readers with a gay-themed story that is fun and (hopefully) funny and somewhat distanced from the hard-hitting drama of, say, ‘FAG’ or ‘Not Just a Boy’.

3. There’s a lot of wonderful humour in ‘A Christmas Outing’, but I think the funniest characters are David’s parents. How have you managed to distill that universal ‘mum and dad-ness’ which I suspect every reader will recognise?

Thank you for saying so. That’s a good question and I’m glad you think that they’re portrayed well. My concern was that they’d be seen as being over the top and unrealistic. Of course, they are comedy characters and fictional, but it’s encouraging to hear that readers recognise mum and dad traits in them.

I guess that dialogue is key in the relationship between David’s parents. That constant weary sniping is present in so many relationships and doesn’t mean the couple isn’t close. Lots of friendships are founded on such banter, and capturing that in dialogue is a good start to creating the mum and dad relationship.

And being observational. If you open your eyes and let life wash over you, you’d be surprised at just how much you pick up on.

4. Much of your recent work has been in gay literary fiction. What would you say are the qualities about that genre that appeal to you?

Again, excellent question and yet infuriatingly tricky to compose a satisfactory answer! I guess it’s an area rich with possibilities. There’s much emotion to explore around this genre as well as all the themes that link in with it – to name a few, coming of age, prejudice, acceptance, repression. And of course, you can drop a gay character into any situation and genre and make that your own. Gay-horror, gay-psychological drama, gay-comedy etc… In that sense there is arguably even more scope in exploring gay characters’ lives through fiction compared to heterosexual characters.

Having said that, I’m still not sure how I feel about the gay literary fiction label. Yes, it may flag up what the book is going to be (at least partly) about, but the real challenge in writing gay literary fiction is to make it accessible to all readers. When you can, and when you read amazing positive feedback from straight readers as well as gay readers, that feels a real achievement.

FAG cover5. Do you think an author has to be gay himself or herself in order to write about gay themes? Is that something readers expect?

To deal with the latter question first, I would hope that in this day and age, readers would be more open as to the orientation of an author. Not that that matters of course. A well-written book is a well-written book. But yes, I would expect that the majority of books that explore gay themes are written by gay authors, simply because other authors aren’t drawn to write gay storylines, and that’s possibly for a variety of reasons, most probably legitimate. After all, would you write about something you don’t have experience of in detail?

Does an author have to be gay to write about gay themes? No, of course not. I’ve read some cracking gay literary fiction written by people from all walks of life. Having that ‘experience’ isn’t essential. If one wants to write about the persecution of gay people, for example, much emotion overlaps with that which arises from the persecution of any minority group. It certainly helps to be gay, though. Writing sensitively about coming out, for example, is, I would imagine, pretty tough for a heterosexual author, simply because the journey and attached emotions are unique and hard to imagine.

6. Are there any genres you haven’t tackled yet that you hope to one day?

Flipping heck, you’re making me think with these questions! I’m sure there are. I’d like to write more thriller or horror stuff at some point. I’m difficult because I can never pin down one genre. I love writing comedy. I love writing psychological drama. At the moment, I’m well into the gay literary fiction genre. I think genres are possibly like seasons for me. They change gradually from one to the next and I’m always certain to return to previous ones.

7. What are your writing plans for 2017?

Well, Mr Nosey Parker, if that is indeed your name. (It’s not? Oh.) I have an unpublished novel on my hard drive which I need to sort into some decent readable state. As for when that will happen, I don’t know… I’m very much led by my readers and their thoughts. As ‘A Christmas Outing’ has proved successful, it is not a big jump for me to explore these characters further while they’re fresh in my mind…

8. Have you finished ‘Maureen on the Moon’ yet?

I’ll refer you to Question 1 and from there you might as well read through my answers again. And again. And again… It’ll be a dream for my obsessive fans, of which I have… well, myself. And… erm…

[Note: again, Jonathan failed to answer this with the correct response, which is ‘Yes and it’ll be published in a few minutes’.]

Want more Jonathan? Really? Well, you can get as much as you can handle from his website at www.jhillwriter.com, which includes details of his recent novella Not Just A Boy.

For a great seasonal read, buy A Christmas Outing from Amazon for only 99p.

You can also read my reviews of some of his other highly recommended books: FAG, Pride, A Letter for Maureen and 100 One Hundred Word Tales.

Signal Failure reaches its 50th review

Posted on by David Wailing

signal-failure-thunderclap-banner

Signal Failure, my horror/mystery short story, now has over 50 reviews on Amazon UK!

Since its release at the end of July, the eBook has been downloaded from Amazon by over 15,000 readers, plus more than 500 downloads from iTunes and Nook. During that time it has performed very well in the Amazon UK free charts and reached the number one slot in both Horror and Short Stories categories.

Reviews for Signal Failure have generally been positive – it seems that the London Underground appeals to many people, especially as a setting for a spooky tale. Here’s a few of my favourites!

“Compulsive read which often unsettled me but I just had to keep going; very atmospheric and having finished the book I still don’t know what to think.”

“The horrors in the darkness are only hinted at, as opposed to being revealed in gory detail, and this approach works perfectly. Excellent, atmospheric writing and the tension is palpable from the beginning.”

“I don’t normally read horror and half way through this story, I remembered why. It was midnight and I had to put it down for fear of giving myself nightmares.”

“So atmospheric. Travelling on the Piccadilly Line – the one I commute on – will never be the same again.”

“It’s only short but it certainly gets under your skin and leaves you wondering, what exactly did happen? I was certainly left wanting more!”

The timing of the release around the beginning of the Night Tube service also seems to have worked well. I claimed that it was the world’s first Night Tube fiction and so far nobody has contradicted me, so let’s say it’s official!

The only downside is that as this story serves as a prelude for the novel Under, many readers are now demanding that I write that as quickly as possible! Work on the novel is about to resume and I plan to release it in early 2017. To be informed when it is published, you can sign up to my mailing list.

Signal Failure is still available and permanently free. You can download it from the Amazon store in your country via the link www.smarturl.it/signalfailure

Remember you can also use a free e-reader app on your smartphone or tablet to read it if you don’t own a Kindle.

THANK YOU to everyone who has downloaded, read and reviewed Signal Failure. Please keep spreading the word!

Signal Failure – new short story available for free

Posted on by David Wailing

Signal Failure ebook cover full sizeSignal Failure is a brand new short story, available now in multiple eBook formats for FREE!

This is a 12,000-word horror/mystery story set on the London Underground. As well as being a standalone tale, it is also a prelude for my forthcoming novel Under.

Signal Failure is the world’s first Night Tube fiction! Scheduled to begin in August 2016, the Night Tube service will run London Underground trains all through the night for the very first time, every Friday and Saturday. This story takes place in early 2017 by which time the Night Tube will be commonplace and running on several Tube lines, including the Piccadilly Line where this is set.

This story is permanently available for free from these eBook sellers:

 

If you don’t have an eBook reader, use the links below to download the free Kindle reading app for your device. Then use it to buy Signal Failure from Amazon where the price will be £0.00.

 

Please leave a review online if you read this story, either on the eBook platform or on Goodreads.

Find out more about Signal Failure and also about other books you can download for free.

Cover image: copyright © tubesnaps 2016. Reproduced with kind permission from the tubesnaps Flickr page.

Coming soon: Signal Failure and Under

Posted on by David Wailing

Signal Failure teaser poster V1

Signal Failure is a brand new short story, due to be released as an eBook at the end of July 2016.

This 12,000-word tale is a horror/mystery set in the London Underground. As followers of mine will know, this is something I have long had an obsession with! I hope this story will appeal to readers who enjoy spooky suspense, as well as those familiar with travelling on the Tube.

Regular commuters will already be aware of the phrase ‘signal failure’ as a common explanation given for delays to the service. Sometimes this can even result in a train being forced to remain within a tunnel, stranded between stations. When this happens, it’s difficult not to look at the blackness outside the windows and wonder if you really are alone down there.

Signal Failure is also directly inspired by the Night Tube. This is the long-awaited service whereby Underground trains run literally all through the night, at least on the weekends. In August these trains will finally start running on the Central and Victoria Lines, before the service is rolled out to three more lines later this year.

This story is set in early 2017, by which time the Night Tube is running regularly and is an unremarkable thread in London’s tapestry. But the world’s oldest subterranean railway will always retain some secrets…

Although it can be read as a standalone story, Signal Failure is also a prelude to my forthcoming novel.

Under teaser poster V3Under is a full-length novel due out in 2017, both as an eBook and paperback.

This is a book that has been slowly forming over many years, fed by my interest in the strange dark corners of the London Underground. The novel will be a blend of horror, mystery and historical, incorporating some of the railway’s genuinely unsettling past.

Under will be available in Spring 2017, initially as an Amazon eBook. The paperback version will include Signal Failure, to collect together the entire story in print.

At the moment Under is still being written, something I’m enjoying very much and I cannot wait to unleash it on the world! I hope it will be of interest to anyone who has ever been intrigued – or unnerved – by the London Underground.

To be updated about these and other releases, subscribe to my mailing list.

Thanks to Liam Doyle for the images used in both teaser posters. Reproduced with kind permission.

Hidden London tour of Euston Underground Station

Posted on by David Wailing

For many years, I have researched the hidden and disused areas of the London Underground for the novel I am currently writing. I knew that occasionally there were tours to such places, but tickets were very rare. So when these Hidden London tours were announced, I wasted no time in signing up!

euston-old-stationEuston Station is one of London’s transport hubs, connecting not just the Victoria Line and both branches of the Northern Line but also London Overground and Network Rail. Every time I walk through it, it feels like it’s been deliberately designed to be a confusing maze. But that’s a result of expansion and evolution over the past century, as we discovered during the tour.

We met the Hidden London tour guides (and were given our trendy high-visibility jackets) at an old station building on the corner of Merton Street and Drummond Street, not far from Euston itself. Here we had a brief slideshow explaining some of its history.

The disused building we were in was once the entrance for one of two rival underground railways were built on either side of the existing mainline Euston station. This is why the Northern Line looks so messy on the map – it is actually bringing together multiple railway routes, all developed by different companies.

On the outside, the old entrance still resembles a classic Tube station with its oxblood-red tiling and arched windows. The inside is a different story. Now it is little more than a crumbling shell dominated by a huge ventilation shaft, with the old stairways to platform level walled off.

euston-gateThe tour then moved inside Euston Station and down to the southbound Northern Line platform. I noticed curious looks from normal, boring, unspecial, non-luminous-clothing-wearing people. These must have been tourists, as native Londoners never spared us a glance, of course.

We were led through one of the mysterious black gates you frequently see at stations, blocking off the areas where the public are not allowed to go. This was directly beside the tunnel mouth through which Tube trains burst into the station.

I couldn’t help but grin with the thrill of being allowed somewhere normally forbidden.

euston-stairs-tunnel

The first set of tunnels we were led through were old crossovers between the two different railways. Although the area was well-lit, the feeling of being somewhere long-since abandoned was enjoyably strong. The blue and cream wall tiles were coated with grime, and the floor was thick with a brown-grey dust.

euston-two-tunnels

Trains filled the air with a loud rumble as they passed, bringing frequent strong blasts of wind, but inbetween these the atmosphere became thick with heat. Voice announcements from the platforms had an echoing ring to them, distorted by distance. All of which added to the sense of being ‘behind the scenes’.

euston-dave-ticket-officeAn unusual relic from the rival-railways days was the remains of a ticket hall, where passengers had to pay to exchange between lines. This office had windows built into the sides so inspectors could spot people trying to sneak from one railway line to the other without paying!

(You might notice another unusual relic in the picture.)

More modern remnants were the rotting posters on the walls, which advertised films, plays and products from the 1960s, when these passages were closed off. Each was a little time capsule of design work, inviting you to imagine how the derelict hallway was once as bustling and lively as any in the present day.

Seeing ‘certificate X’ film posters also reminded me how scary and unsettling cinema sometimes felt when I was young. It’s hard to imagine a creepier place to see a poster for ‘Psycho’.

euston-tube posters

The passages were by no means empty, with plenty of ageing equipment piled up at the sides. Even the tour guides didn’t seem sure what most of it was for. Like the disused ‘ghost’ stations, these hollow spaces are now the equivalent of an old garden shed used to store bits and pieces which might, one day, perhaps, possibly come in handy.

euston-walkway-tunnel

euston-lift-shaft-ladderThe tour continued to one of two disused lift shafts, the other being bricked up. This was a cavernous space stretching 18 metres above our heads, ringed with rusting steel girders.

Once this had housed an elevator to take Tube passengers up to the booking hall for mainline trains. Like much of the abandoned sections of Euston, this was now used solely to allow air to escape to the surface.

In the picture you can see a maintenance ladder which stretched about halfway up the lift shaft, leading to a old exit on platform level. I had visions of clambering up this and popping out of nowhere onto a platform, to startle tourists and be blanked by Londoners.

It was dedicated ventilation tunnels that we explored next. These were the most exciting part of the tour, since they were never designed to be seen by the public.

These shafts had no abandoned junk in them, no signage and no old posters. Walls made of circular ribs of metal were coated with black grime and the dusty floor was uneven.

euston-ventilation-shaft

This led to an open space with a zigzagging walkway, along which we all crowded. Here the noise of the trains was louder, and we soon saw why. At the end of each ‘zig’ and ‘zag’ was a shaft leading down to a grill – beneath which we could clearly see a Victoria Line platform.

euston-overhangsIt felt great to stand there watching the tops of passengers’ heads as they milled about, and to have a bird’s eye view of Tube trains arriving and pulling out of the station. Perhaps it just appealed to the voyeur in all of us!

It was a surprise to find that over an hour had passed and the tour was effectively over, except for the walk back and opportunities for more photos. (Fortunately I had brought a friend to act as my official photographer while I just gaped at everything.) I felt disappointed that we had seen all that we were allowed to see, and could easily have spent more time under the Underground.

One of the last comments a tour guide made added extra piquancy. London Underground is forever changing with the times. Major new work such as HS2 and Crossrail 2 will have a transformative impact on Euston. The abandoned station building we saw will be demolished, and most of the tunnels we walked through will be either repurposed or replaced.

So this part of Hidden London may soon be gone forever, which makes the experience all the more valuable.

I would have happily gone on this tour just for fun, but also proved inspirational for my novel Under. No matter how much research you do or old photos you examine, there’s nothing like actually walking through history yourself.

It’s just a shame I had to give back my high-vis jacket. How am I meant to do those all-night book signings now?

euston-Dave-shadows

Under – a new novel set in the London Underground

Posted on by David Wailing

Under teaser poster V2AUNDER is a new novel that I am currently writing, and will be out by the end of 2016.

Under is a horror/mystery story set in the London Underground. It also includes historical elements as it looks at some of the myths and tales that surround the world’s oldest underground railway.

As a native Londoner, I am a regular traveller on the Tube and have long been fascinated by it. There are places where it feels decaying and dangerous, yet other places where it is futuristic and entrancing. And there are areas that commuters never see, including disused ‘ghost’ stations buried beneath the city.

My mild obsession with the Tube has always been there, but apart from one short story many years ago, it has never featured in my writing. Now I am finally focusing my attention on it with a novel that, I hope, will linger in the minds of readers every time they descend into the London Underground.

For readers of the Auto Series, rest assured that has not been forgotten! There will also be a brand new Auto story this year, and Auto 3 is still in the pipeline.

To be updated on the release of Under, subscribe to my mailing list.

Thanks to Liam Doyle for the image used in the teaser poster. Reproduced with kind permission.

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