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Three free novels for 1-5 January 2017

Posted on by David Wailing


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, 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.


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.


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-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.


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?


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.

Book review: Alt. History 102 anthology

Posted on by David Wailing

alt-history-102Alt. History 102 is the second ‘alternative history’ anthology from the same stable as the bestselling Future Chronicles series. Curator Samuel Peralta has compiled a range of stories from twelve speculative fiction authors, inviting them to imagine worlds where our established history travelled along a different path. The results are varied and fascinating!

I was offered an Advance Review Copy of this anthology and was intrigued by the premise. Parallel world stories typically blend the historical and science fiction genres, but there can also be a lot of fun imagining how our present-day society would be if things had gone differently.

Not all of these stories were as satisfying for me as they could have been, but the eclectic range means every reader will find a tale they enjoy. Here are my thoughts on each.

The Most Beautiful Woman by Jennifer Ellis is a strong start to the anthology. Many alternative histories revolve around Adolf Hitler, but this focuses on inventor and actress Hedy Lamarr undertaking a mission to spy on, seduce and ultimately assassinate the Führer. I was drawn in by some very believable writing and characterisation, becoming fascinated by a historical figure I had never heard of before.

Requiem by Will Swardstrom tells of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart staging a daring rescue of Marie Antoinette from the horrors of the French Revolution – surely one of the greatest one-line pitches ever! Structured as musical acts and narrated by the closest thing the eccentric composer has to a friend, this is another exciting adventure that made me want to look closer into real historical events to learn more of the backstory.

Diablo Del Mar by Artie Cabrera takes an equally famous figure, Christopher Columbus, and plunges him into a swashbuckling saga involving secret cults, sea monsters, UFOs and ultimately an alien world. Despite such heady ingredients, this was too dense a mixture for me to digest comfortably. It was also frustratingly open-ended with regard to Columbus’s fate, feeling like the prelude to further adventures rather than a self-contained tale.

Whack Job by Rysa Walker was equally frustating in the sense of clearly being part of an existing book series, making it difficult to follow in places. The sheer volume of historical research into axe murdereress Lizzie Borden was also wearying, and although the characters’ workmanlike approach to time travel felt believable, it also plodded along at times. But fans of temporal twists may find it more engaging.

Drought by J.E. Mac is set in a Los Angeles where fresh water is more valuable than oil, and a father and daughter become entangled with those prepared to murder for it. For some reason it was easy to visualise this as an Eighties sci-fi action movie, complete with crazy nightclubs, handsome traitors, smooth corporate villains and a climactic gun battle resulting in a huge special effect. So all pretty enjoyable if you grew up on those sorts of films, like I did!

The Elissiad by Asha Bardon combines an alternative post-Roman city with a ‘Chariots of the Gods’ storyline, where crashed aliens have restructured society using advanced technology. Told with lots of detail and imagination, there are mythical and romantic qualities to this story, and it’s no surprise that the author has made academic studies of this ancient period.

The Tesla Gate by Drew Avera shows electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla obsessed with creating a time machine using Edwardian technology. He is directly inspired by Mark Twain and aided only by the mysterious lady Alokin, seemingly a figure of his imagination. This fantastic and superbly told premise might have been my favourite story, if not for another open-ended conclusion and a lack of revelation about Alokin’s true nature.

The Black Network by Adam Venezia is a story told with such economical writing, down-to-earth characters and realistic situations that it hardly feels like an alternative world at all, and was a joy to read. The storyline follows how ordinary folks challenge the powers-that-be by secretly building a rival computer network. However, as with others in this collection, for me it was let down by an inconclusive ending and lack of dramatic impact.

The Visitation by Hank Garner has a ‘Man Who Fell To Earth’ vibe, featuring a tale of an unearthly stranger walking among us. The story’s structure, a yarn told in a bar to an inquisitive journalist, works very well and is only let down by becoming a little too heavy-handed as it progresses. But there are lots of nice touches along the way related to the changes that have been made to this timeline, and also a pleasing twist at the end.

The Finest Mask by J.J. Brown is set in a believably disturbing future, blighted by animal extinctions and rampaging diseases. Here, everyone wears a mask to hide their scarred skin, and a genetic engineer is on a quest to find someone whose genes might hold the key to curing future infections. Although a wonderful example of bleak dystopian writing, this is another story that fizzles out without any conclusive pay-off.

The Blackbird Sings by Therin Knite has similarities to Drought in that it involves a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles and has the feel of an action movie. Here, a timeline altered by a Soviet nuclear strike in 1983 is outlined by news headlines, forming the backdrop to a mission by cybernetically enhanced agents. This story’s conclusion is more satisfying and ties neatly into the underlying theme of survival through technology.

The Locked Web by Alex Roddie concludes the anthology on another high point. This parallel present-day UK is still in the grip of the Cold War and computers have never evolved much beyond the early Eighties. The disabled protagonist and his family are very believable and engaging, although sometimes the differences between our timeline and this one are underlined a little bluntly. It’s still more than enough to make you grateful to live in our internet-dependent world!

In summary, this anthology is an excellent example of how varied ‘What if?’ stories can be. There’s no shortage of imagination, enthusiasm and talent amongst each of these authors. Naturally some appealed to me more than others, and in some cases I think more development was needed to ensure plotlines had the big finish they deserved. There is still an enormous amount to enjoy and plenty of food for thought, which is the mark of successful speculative fiction.

Alt. History 102 is available in Kindle format from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Update Fake Kate – Free eBook Download

Posted on by David Wailing

Fake Kate coverSome good news for anyone who bought my novel Fake Kate in the past. You can now update the eBook and download the second edition from Amazon, free of charge!

Everyone who bought Fake Kate since 2011 should have received an email from Amazon explaining how to do this. For those who didn’t, here’s the instructions:

1: On Amazon, select the Your Account tab on the menu bar.

2: From the menu, click on Manage Your Content and Devices. (You may have to log into your Amazon account.)

3: In Your Content, use the search bar to find Fake Kate or select it from the list.

4: At the far right of the entry for Fake Kate, you will see a button called Update Available. Click this and then the Update button.

5: The second edition of the eBook will be downloaded to your device, replacing the old version.

For anyone who has not bought the book, the price on Amazon will be kept low at 99p / 99c for the rest of January.

Find out more about Fake Kate.

Fake Kate (Second Edition) FREE 1-5 January 2016

Posted on by David Wailing

Fake Kate teaser V3a

Kate has vanished! Determined to find her, her sister Belinda must pretend to be her. Go on her dates, hang out with her friends, live her entire life.

Only to discover Kate had been faking too, for a very long time…


My novel Fake Kate has been republished on Amazon as a second edition. The new version of the book is 27,000 words shorter and has been thoroughly edited.

To promote this new version, you can download the eBook of Fake Kate from Amazon for FREE from 1st to 5th January 2016.

To download from Amazon in your country, go to http://smarturl.it/fakekate

Remember, you don’t need a Kindle to read an Amazon eBook. For a list of links for free e-reader apps and software, see my Free downloads page.

Find out more about Fake Kate.

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