Nursery Rhyme

It's that time again when I decide to dip my toe into the world of Kindle-based short fiction.

This time, it's something called Nursery Rhyme...


Returning home to Newcastle, journalist Andy Porter finds himself thrown headlong into a part of his past he'd rather forget. When he notices a series of mysterious symbols that have appeared all over the city, he soon realises they may be connected to the past he's trying to escape...

This is a story I really don't want to talk about too much for a variety of reasons, but it's also a thing I've struggled to get to grips with for a really long time (I mean, stupidly long), and I'm glad it's finally done and dusted. Was it worth it? Well, I think so, anyway, buy you can judge for yourself - and it'll only cost you a quid!

You can get Nursery Rhyme from Amazon UK:


The story is also available via Amazon US:


And, for all you non-Kindle owners, Nursery Rhyme is also available as a PDF via these fine online portals:

So, y'know, why not give it a try?

And, again, huge thanks to m'colleague Bryan Coyle for providing that lovely cover.

Zarjaz Presents... Strontium Dog: Fight Night


And we're back for yet another Zarjaz Daily...

This time, myself and Bolt-01 are joined by Robo-Monkey147 for a 15 part Strontium Dog story called Fight Night!

As always, each episode of Fight Night will debut over at the FutureQuake Blog (and the 2000AD message boards), and the strip will be compiled on its own page on this here blog, too.

In the meantime, you can check out all the previous "Zarjaz Dailies" here.

And remember: if you want even more supplementary Thrill Power, several issues of Zarjaz are available to buy from The FutureQuake site now!

Aces Weekly Presents... The Devil's Breath!

Time to let the cat out of the bag, then...

Me and my regular parter in crimes against comics Bryan Coyle (accompanied by letterer extraordinaire Bolt-01) are making our debut in Aces Weekly!


For those not in the know, Aces Weekly is the award winning digital anthology published by David Lloyd (of V For Vendetta fame) and features stories from some of the finest creators around the globe. And now, er, us.

Our story, The Devil's Breath, kicks off in Volume #29 - which begins July 31st - and is something of a departure for us: rather than the slow burning horror we've done in the past, this is a high-octane, globe-trotting 1960's set spy adventure...


When the blueprints for the doomsday weapon known as The Devil's Breath are to be sold to the highest bidder, SIU's top agent Velicity Jones has to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands! But with the fate of the world on her shoulders, Velicity soon finds herself caught in a web of lies and deceit as she discovers there's no one she can trust...

Doing something that's unashamedly pure pulp was - I have to say - a ridiculous amount of fun, and I really hope it comes across in the story. I don't really want to say too much more about it, in case I give anything away, but working on this was a challenge - not just in terms of the actual story, but also the format and the narrative structure we had to adopt. It was - for me - a great chance to stretch myself a bit, and dive back into the heady waters of comicking after a wee break.

As for the art... Well, I've worked with Bryan for a long time now and I can honestly say he never ceases to amaze me with what he brings to the table - and The Devil's Breath is no exception. He brings some real emotional weight to the story, while ripping into the action sequences with aplomb - even now, I'm still completely blown away by his work in the first episode. It is, I think, one of the most bad-ass things I've ever had the good fortune to be involved in.


You can read that first episode of The Devil's Breath exclusively in Aces Weekly this coming Monday from July 31st, and each subsequent episode will arrive on the screen of your choosing every following Monday for the next seven weeks.

You can purchase an ongoing subscription here for £6.99 - which racks in at less than £1 an episode! - or you can buy previous volumes from here. Previous volumes are also available from Comixology.

And if that wasn't enough, we've also compiled an exclusive extra for that first episode: a behind the scenes look that takes you from from the original script all the way through each stage to the final, finished page!

Remember, you can find out more about Aces Weekly at their website.

And, hey, if you like The Devil's Breath, be sure and let Aces Weekly know!

Update: Huge thanks to John Freeman at Down The Tubes for his rather lovely little review of the strip! Read it here.

Station Ident


This is Imaginary Stories, the blog of a writer who's dusting off this old chestnut. Hi.

Been off the scene, as it were, for a wee while, but I've been busy beavering away at some new projects, believe it or not. More on those as and when I can. In the meantime, you can grab some short prose stories I've written or maybe even check out some freebies - and if you like them, feel free to buy me a coffee.

In the meantime, let me continually disappoint you on Twitter, or go and look at whatever random nonsense I choose to post on Tumblr. I think I may actually still have a Bebo page, too. Because I am forever on the bleeding edge of social media.

Art by Justin Wood. 

Out Now: Zarjaz #28

A little late to this, but the newest issue of Zarjaz - issue 28 to be exact - is out now - and features something from myself and James Newell in the form of The Ballad Of Tubal Cain...


Since his resurrection by Medusa, the living spirit of Mars, Happy Shrapnel has turned his back on his life of violence and adopted the name Tubal Cain. Now, he is the armourer for The ABC Warriors, providing weapons and repairs to aid their mission to increase the peace across the red planet. But when he agrees to repair another veteran, Tubal is forced to re-adopt his old ways...
I have to admit, I loved the idea of Tubal Cain ever since I read the Return To Mars storyline. Something about the character desiring a change, away from the endless combat of being an ABC Warrior spoke to me and added something fresh to the series. It also left me a little wary about tackling Tubal and his little corner of Mars, but I decided to take a few chances with the script, and I'm kinda pleased with the way it worked out.

And I'm even more pleased that James Newell agreed to join me on this. I've worked with James once before, back in Zarjaz #25 (still available from the FutureQuake Shop!), so I had an inkling of what to expect from the art, but when I saw his finished pages for The Ballad Of Tubal Cain, I was pretty much stopped dead in my tracks. Not only does he bring some Clint Langley-esque elements to the pages, he also captures the action sequences and quieter story beats with the skills of a master in the making.

James is most definitely a name to watch for in the future - which makes me even more grateful that we have a third strip in the pipeline for Zarjaz, hopefully due later in the year. In the meantime, be sure and check out James' blog to see what else he's up to.

Zarjaz #28 features this cover from Tiernen Trevallion:


Zarjaz #28 is available from the FutureQuake Shop, priced £3.00 (+ shipping). If you think you can handle the extra Thrill Power, you can also grab back issues from the FutureQuake Shop.

Remember: it ain't called Zarjaz for nothin'!

10 Miles: A Collection Of Short Stories

Over the last few months, I've been hammering away at a wee side project that I've been promising myself I'd do since about 2015: a collection of short prose stories.

It's been pretty daunting pulling this together, as what I laughingly call my prose skills are a little rusty, but I'm fairly happy with how the pieces have turned out, and now I'm putting it out there in the world to read. And maybe laugh at. Er...

Anyway, the collection, 10 Miles, features two previously published stories in the form of 8-Ball and the aforementioned 10 Miles, alongside four original shorts, and features a rather tasty cover from my regular parter in crimes against comics Bryan Coyle, which looks like this:


The six stories included are:

8-Ball: 

When a "Magic 8-Ball" computer program begins to make increasingly accurate predictions, Paul Johnson finds his life slowly being turned inside out...

Click:

One photograph reveals so much...

House:

When Ray disappears from his home, the neighbours become increasingly worried...

Dead Drop:

When her friend, Quinn, asks her for access to her buildings servers to check out an outdated flash drive, Zoe Webb finds herself caught between the most powerful corporate entity on the planet and an independent news agency determined to expose them.

10 Miles:

Rob Jackson has turned his life over to the whims of Fate, using the flip of a coin to make decisions. But, as he heads through the Nevada desert, he's discovering just what a strange and cruel mistress Fate can be...

The Phone:

Two friends embark on an increasingly dangerous night out as they try to forget the secrets a mobile phone contains...

10 Miles is available for the paltry sum of £1.99 from these fine retailers of digital products:


Zarjaz Presents... Strontium Dog: Old Laing Zyne Episode 2


And that's another daily in the can!

Thanks to Zarjaz for letting us do this under their banner and, of course, thanks to you for reading!

Remember, you can read the entire story here, and all the previous Zarjaz Dailies, are available here.

The Zarjaz Dailies, however, will return later in 2017...

Zarjaz Presents... Strontium Dog: Old Laing Zyne Episode 1


And we're back one last time with a very special Strontium Dog story from myself, Scott Twells and Bolt-01...

As always, each episode of Old Laing Zyne will debut over at the FutureQuake Blog (and the 2000AD message boards) before popping up here, and I'll compile the strip on their own page if anyone wants to catch up.

The story concludes tomorrow. In the meantime, you can check out all the previous "Zarjaz Dailies" here.

And remember: if you want even more supplementary Thrill Power, several issues of Zarjaz are available to buy from The FutureQuake site now!

Zarjaz Presents... Judge Dredd: Frostee The Snow-bot Episode 8


And that's another case for Justice Department's finest in the can!

Remember, you can read the entire serial here, and all the previous Zarjaz Dailies, are available here.

But wait! There's more... Later today, we'll be back for a very special end of year strip...


Zarjaz Presents... Judge Dredd: Frostee The Snow-bot Episode 7

Concludes tomorrow! Catch up on all the previous episodes here.

And remember: several issues of Zarjaz are currently available to buy from The FutureQuake site!