“A gorgeous black voltage arc…”

TheVikingDeadGermanVersionThe wonderful thing about The Viking Dead having been translated into German (thanks to Michael Preissl of Voodoo Press) is that all of a sudden, new reviews are popping up. The great disadvantage for me is that, despite my O-level German, I have almost no idea what they’re saying.

Thank God, then, for the technological miracle that is Google translate. Here’s what Carmen Weinand of Horror and More had to say, according to Google’s totally awesome translation engine:

The Viking Dead by Toby Venables, not to be confused with The Walking Dead (although I like the pun), is a horror tome of a special kind.

Did you get the pun? Me neither. But never mind, let’s move on…

The author was previously not known to me, but Michael Preissls (Voodoo Press) tireless search for exceptional fabric, it is thanks to them that this has now changed. And this extraordinary novel is definitely.

This is good stuff – I strive to be definitely with all my fabric.

If you feel slain as a reader in the first moment of numerous Scandinavian name literally, you put a little later already irretrievably stuck in a dark, sinister atmosphere. Brave Viking, horrible creatures, and finally a young lad who will say goodbye forever from his childhood, make this story into an immersive experience.”

I’m liking this more and more. Go on…

“Linguistically, we find ourselves naturally in some old-fashioned climes again, but harms the reading fun in any way. On The Contrary! Toby Venables it goes first to a little quieter, but then builds a gorgeous black voltage arc that its full force finally proposes to the reader in a bloody showdown for the ears. So I like that. You can feel it coming. And when it comes, it brings a out of the shoes.”

OK, that’s it. Reviews will never, ever get better than this. But it’s not over yet.

“The Viking Dead shows the reader that the Vikings not only drink mead and battered helmets bulge. THIS Vikings have other problems. Toby Venables knows the truth about the blood on their weapons. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I am now also inaugurated – and have not looked back. I would be happy to recommend this tome on.”

So, there you have it. A gorgeous black voltage arc. Bulging battered helmets. And shoes.

Thanks to Carmen for what was once, I firmly believe, a wonderful review – and to dear Google, for translating it into… whatever that is. On the positive side, I don’t think Skynet’s quite ready to take over just yet.

Ghosts! Zombies! And Eleanor of Aquitaine!

6dThe plan was for The Red Hand to be a short, sweet second volume of the trilogy. That was the plan. Somehow, though, it grew and grew. It grew so much that I had to hack off some bits to make room for other bits.

Never one to discard a fresh body part, I kept them on ice – and now the nice people at Abaddon are presenting these deleted scenes on their blog for your delectation. The first – in which Gisburne, Galfrid and John tell ghost stories around a fire – is up today, here.

There will be two more, posted on Wednesday and Thursday morning this week, in which we lose the heir to the throne and meet the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Gisburne has an unexpected guest – who just happens to be dead. Enjoy!

Then three come along at once

2014 was not the easiest of years, and I can’t say I’m entirely sorry to see it go. At times, in terms of workload, it felt like it had been sent to test me – to make me find out what my limits really were. I did. It wasn’t fun. But it was instructive, at least. I now know not to have another year like that.

Its last hurrah came in the form of a flu-like virus – the one that has you coughing day and night for weeks, which seemingly everyone suffered from – which then led to the early stages of pneumonia. Terrific. Only now am I feeling normal again (well, as normal as I ever did). 2014 just didn’t want to relinquish its grip without a fight.

Well, it didn’t have everything its own way, and all that work wasn’t without issue. As a result of it, I have three books out in three consecutive months.

image-serviceDecember saw the publication of The Zombie Renaissance in Popular Culture – an academic tome that grew out of the Zombosium at Winchester University in 2011, where I gave a paper. The book is a collection of chapters by a variety of authors and academics on all aspects of zombies in our culture, the very last being my own contribution. Snappily titled Zombies, a lost literary heritage and the return of the repressed, it offers a brief overview of recent zombie literature, and then deals with one of the great fallacies of zombie lore: that it has no literary heritage. It does – and it’s Viking. Viking zombies. They’re just my thing.

Read about them here.

image001In January, Hunter of Sherwood: The Red Hand, the second volume of the Gisburne trilogy, was published by Abaddon (one of the imprints of Rebellion, who publish 2000AD). It was meant to be a short and snappy second book. It wasn’t. It was huge. A monster. Some of this had to be trimmed back for the sake of everyone’s sanity, but this means there will be some ‘deleted scenes’ available, featuring events and encounters not included in the final novel All of these will be posted on the Abaddon blog as well as here. Anyway, at the time of writing, the eBook has got 25% off in the Rebellion online store January sale (to which the above link will take you) but you can also find it on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Reviews are starting to come through on Goodreads, and they’re very pleasing – all 4 and 5 star reviews. Thank you to all who have taken time to review it (and read it, of course).

TheVikingDeadGermanVersionFebruary will see the return of an old friend. My first novel, The Viking Dead, is to be published in a German version by Voodoo Press. It’ll also be available on Amazon. OK, so this one’s cheating a bit – I mean, I didn’t have to write it all over again, and it wasn’t me translating it – but hey. Three books is three books.

In your face, 2014…

Look what’s arrived…

IMG_0716This nice big box turned up full of books. Yes, Gisburne returns in the second book of the Hunter of Sherwood trilogy, The Red Hand – a story of death, murder, killing, assassination, slaughter, execution and hurdy-gurdies.

It’s out in the UK in January 2015, and you can pre-order on Amazon. In the US it’s out slightly sooner – 30 December – and transatlantic Gisburneheads can buy it here. The perfect remedy to post-Christmas gift disappointment.

I also now have an author page on Amazon which gathers the various tomes together, including the just-published ox-stunner The Zombie Renaissance in Popular Culture, to which I contributed the closing chapter (on the literary heritage of zombies in general, and the Norse undead in particular).