Archive | August, 2014

An Interview With Colin M. Drysdale On Bookkaholic.com

28 Aug

I’ve been a bit lax on blog posts recently, mostly because so much of my time has been taken up with a mix of my day job and publicising The Outbreak. However, one of the things I have had time to do recently was an interview with Rachel Storey for Bookkaholic.com, an online book magazine.

If you are interested in reading this interview, you can find it here, and I’d also recommend checking out Rachel’s own blog (which has the great name of Storey On A Story), which you can find here.

I’ll hopefully get some more time to devote to writing articles for this blog in the near future (I’ve got a few ideas packed away which I’m keen to turn into posts – including one on why rocky shorelines are a surprisingly good place to find yourself in the event of a zombie apocalypse), and maybe even a short story or two since I haven’t posted one of them in a while.

Until then, you can check out Rachel’s interview with me, which has a few tidbits about where the world of For Those In Peril might head in the future, including the first publicly released information about whose perspective the next book in the series will be written from – and this might surprise you!



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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Zombies! Run!

27 Aug

What do zombies eat? It’s not just brains, apparently they like sushi, too. Or at least the one which walked into the sushi restaurant I was having dinner in last Saturday did. At this point, you’d be forgiven for wondering what on earth I was talking about. Well, my home city of Glasgow has been hosting a series of zombie runs over the last couple of weekends. For those of you who don’t know, zombie runs are an interactive role-playing game which takes place on real city streets. The competitors have to complete a series of stages and challenges, all while avoiding being bitten by zombies, or at least people playing zombies, and it was one of these people who walked into the sushi restaurant after the event had finished.

This particular zombie run was put on by 2.8 Hours Later (a nice little homage to my all-time favourite zombie film), and is fairly straight forward to play. All you have to do is survive for 2.8 hours while being pursued by zombies, vigilantes and the police. They have been doing these events for a couple of years now, and while I’ve been tempted to sign up, there’s always one thing which has stopped me. What happens if, right at the beginning, you get caught and it’s game over? At £28.00 a ticket to enter, they’re not cheap and it could be a lot of money for a very short time playing.

However, while look at their website the other day, I found one there’s another way to take part. You can. it turns out, sign up for free to be one of the zombies. You have to go to zombie school, but hey what could be more fun than that? And not only do you learn how to be a zombie, but they give you a free zombie make over on the day. So, next time these guys are in town (and it is rapidly becoming an annual event here in Glasgow), I think that’s what I’ll be doing. After all, what could be more fun that pursuing people through the streets of a busy city driven by the ungodly urge to eat their brains? Or, after the event has finished, sushi.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

‘The Outbreak’ – Kindle Edition $0.99 Until Monday 25th August 2014

22 Aug

The kindle edition of my latest post-apocalyptic survival novel, The Outbreak, will be on sale for $0.99 this weekend instead of its usual $4.99. If this isn’t enough to tempt you to buy it, here’s what readers have been saying about it so far:

‘Loved this book and the story line, the characters are great! Felt myself well up at certain points and got far too caught up in some characters emotions (a good thing obviously). Very well written and I highly recommend it to anyone.‘ Five Stars out of five (Goodreads Review).

This is a thriller with gritty, convincing detail and enough human interest to keep you gripped to the end.‘ Five Stars out of five. (Customer review from Amazon.co.uk).

… Beautifully written and put together; a book and storyline that will, without doubt, stay with me for a very long time … The story moves on very quickly, it gets to the point, and before you realise it, you are witnessing an Apocalyptic event happening in the UK which, if I’m honest, terrified me …‘ Five Stars out of five (Goodreads Review).

… The author has produced a very well paced, exciting and at times extremely sad thriller. It rattles along quickly having just the right amount of descriptive detail, dialogue and technical info for it to be well explained to the uninitiated in regards to the setting (Glasgow and the remote islands), sailing and development of the characters … The characters are exactly right, you like the ones you are supposed to like, feel sympathy for the ones you are supposed to sympathise with and downright hate the ones you are supposed to hate!!!!!! It’s about as perfect as you can get …‘ Five Stars out of five (Goodreads Review).



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

Idle Speculations On My Perfect Zombie Filmfest

18 Aug

I’ve been sitting through a rather dry academic conference for much of the last week as part of my day job, and during some of the more boring presentations, my mind has been wandering off towards zombies, and specifically, what my ideal line up would be for a zombie film festival. I don’t know quite why this idea entered my head, but it did and it stuck. This meant I ended up getting drawn into the idea of what exactly I’d have in it.

My starting point was what theme I’d use. After all, as with any filmfest, I’d need something to connect all the films together. At first, I thought about arranging films in some sort of temporal order, such as the years in which they were made, starting with something like Romero’s first film, Dawn of the Dead, or maybe even going as far back as White Zombie, and taking it all way through to World War Z, hitting various key films in between.

Soon, however, I gave that idea up as being too predictable, and I moved onto the idea of arranging them by the speed of the zombies. This, too, might start with Dawn of the Dead (the original version) and end with World War Z, but in between, and in this order, might be Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead (the remake) and 28 Days Later. This would be more quirky, but still rather obvious.

Finally, I figured I could just do it by selecting films which I thought had brought something new to the genre. This would not only allow the inclusion of full length classics from the silver screen, but also some of the best shorts from YouTube. This, then, was where I began, and from there I started picking the films I’d feature and the order I’d shown them in. Interested in what I came up with? Well, here’s what my fictitious film festival would look like:

1. Dawn of the Dead (original version): This is the one that kick-started the modern zombie film genre, so it was always going to be a good place to start.

2. Shaun of the Dead: The film that launched the zom-rom-com genre (and indeed ended it, too!).

3. Cargo: For those not familiar with Cargo, this is a short film which has a truly unique take on how a father can best look after his baby daughter in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

4. Dawn of the Dead (remake): While 28 Days Later brought the idea of fast zombies to the fore in the zombie genre, they weren’t really zombies, so I’m putting the remake of Dawn of the Dead in here because it marks the acceptance of the idea that true zombies can be fast and not just slow.

5. Steadfast Stanley: This is a great little, heart-warming film which take views the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of a dog looking for his young master, and it offers a very unique perspective on such events.

6. The Crazies: While most zombie films concentrate on a disease being the cause of a zombie apocalypse, The Crazies takes a different route and thinks about it being caused by chemicals leaching into the water supply of a small town.

7. Zombieland: While Shaun of the Dead was also comedy, it was an homage to its near namesake. Zombieland was more unique, particularly with its tongue-in-cheek breaking of the fourth wall to deliver its iconic rules and its brilliant cameo by Bill Murray.

8. 28 Days Later: This was always going to be the final film in any list I put together, but not only is it my favourite film in the genre, it also re-invigorated the whole genre itself. Without it, there would probably have been no Dawn of the Dead remake, no The Walking Dead and no World War Z (book or film). Yes, it’s not a true zombie film since the rage-infected humans aren’t true undead, but nonetheless it falls squarely within the genre and it stands as a major landmark in the development of zombie films. Of course, it’s also a great way to end any night!

So there we have it, eight films all of which I feel have brought something new to the zombie genre. I’m sure others would select a different set of films, and for different reasons, but taken together I think they’d make for an interesting, and hopefully thought-provoking, day of zombie action.

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

‘For Those In Peril On The Sea’ Wins Best Indie Book Award

17 Aug

BIBA2014InPerilA while a go, some of you will remember I posted about the importance of book awards for independently published books and writers.

As it happens, my first book For Those In Peril On The Sea has just been announced as the winner of the horror category in the 2014 Best Indie Book Award. As always, it’s great to get some recognition for my work. If you’re interested, you can find the official announcement here.

This award comes with a nice little statuette (although that might take some time to reach me), and a review on Jelly Bomb Review, which can be found here.



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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

The Day Job – Part 2

11 Aug

About this time last year, I wrote a post about what I do in my day job as a marine biologist. In this post, I want to revisit my day job again, and specifically one aspect of it: the academic conference. This is because I’m going to be spending the next week or so at one of these supposedly auspicious events. For those not familiar with academic conferences, these are events, usually held annually and somewhere exotic, where academics from around the world, all specialists in a particular field, come together to share ideas and so help to advance the very science which is their daily bread and butter.

At any rate, that’s what they are meant to be. In practice, they are quite different creatures, and are a mix of academic one-upmanship, back-stabbing, gossip, drinking and debauchery. In other words, they’re just like pretty much any other gathering of humans anywhere on the planet. Yes, ideas are discussed, advances made, but these won’t be in the rarefied atmosphere of the seminar room. Rather, it will be more likely to happen late at night in a dimly lit hotel bar, with half a dozen people crowded around a table, peering blearily at a paper napkin covered in scrawls and doodles that seem to make sense at the time, but which, in the cold light of day the following morning, when heads are pounding, will mean nothing.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that academic conferences are nothing but thinly disguised week-long parties which can be charged to expense accounts. They are serious events, it’s just that they are not necessarily always taken with the seriousness that most people associate with both science and scientists. Nonetheless, friendships are made and connections are forged, and although this may result in nothing more than hangovers in the short-term, in the long-term, they do lead to greater collaboration and real scientific advances.

The locations of these events can be almost anywhere in the world (places like Maui, the Canary Islands and Monaco to name some of the more exotic ones I’ve been to over the years). However, despite this, most of the time will be spent in stuffy, darkened conference halls, far from the reach of the beaming sun and blue skies outside, listening to dry and, to be frankly honest, quite boring talks outlining the latest advances. Worse, if you happen to be staying in the same hotel as the conference is taking place, there’s a good chance the only time you’ll catch a glimpse the locations exoticness will be from the cab as it travels from and to the airport. Yet, there will always be that one presentation which lights a spark deep inside your brain and sends you scurrying for the nearest bar napkin to start sketching out a new idea which might change your career in ways you never thought possible. These are the moments which make sitting through the rest of the talks worth it, even if you are continually reminded that scientists are rarely the best public speakers.

Still, when all finally finished, hair is let down and when this happens scientists can party with the best of them. This usually happens at the closing banquet, or to be more accurately after it, when all the business of the conference is out of the way and everyone can finally relax. This is when things can get messy. One memorable conference, the final night started with a drag queen cabaret show and an open bar (never a good thing to offer scientists!), and ended with the conference organiser being led away in handcuffs while several vans full of Spanish police in full riot gear waited outside for the order to move in because of all the noise we were making at what was by then some ungodly hour of the morning. Needless to say, that was the point at which I decided to leave, unclear as to whether the departmental finance officer at my university would find a bail payment an acceptable conference expense or not.

Of course, that was back when I was a grad student, and these days I am older and wiser (well, at least I like to think I am, but maybe I just lack the energy of my youth to stay up all night). This means that the conference I’ll be attending next week will probably not involve too much drunken debauchery (at least not for me), but it will be fun watching the latest in-take of grad students acting the same as we did many years ago, while they look at us old timers and think of us as boring party-poopers for not getting involved in their antics. If only they knew the truth, they’d probably have a lot less respect for their supervisors, their bosses and, indeed, the heroes of their field.

So that’s academic conferences for you and while my mind will primarily be focussed on that for the next week or so, you can be assured that during the more boring moments, my mind will be drifting towards my other career as a novelist. Story ideas will be thought of, zombie set pieces imagined, and possibly even rough drafts polished, as I wait for that one talk to inspire me, and remind me why I love doing science so much.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

Traces: A New And Unique Way For Writers To Provide Interactive Content To Their Readers

8 Aug

I have always been keen on providing interactive elements which help readers immerse themselves within a story. For both For Those In Peril On The Sea, and The Outbreak, I created Google Earth layers which allow the readers to explore the real world locations where these book are set. I’ve also toyed with the idea of presenting stories within a series of linked locations within a Google Earth layer, although I’ve never got round to actually writing one. This is, in part, because the reader could still read the story while sitting on their sofa in front of the TV, and what I really wanted was something that would make people actually visit the locations where a story was set as they visit it.

This is where a newly released app called Traces comes in. Traces allows you to virtually tag locations and plant text, photos or videos there. You then send out the information to other users of the app, and they can then read whatever you have left for them. However, and here’s the twist, they have to actually visit the location with their mobile device in the time period you specific before they can see it.

For me, this opens up a huge world of possibilities for writers which would allow them to provide interactive content in a way that really hasn’t been possible before. For example, writers could plants parts of a story in the real world locations where they are set, and tell the reader which order to visit them in. This would mean that the reader is visiting the locations themselves as they are reading the story. Similarly, rather than text, you could provide audio files which the reader could listen to while viewing the sites where the story takes place.

This wouldn’t work for all types of story, and might work better for short stories rather than full length novels, but if done properly with the right ones, this new app has the potential to allow readers to interact with pieces of writing in ways that would never have been possible before. In addition, with the time sensitive element, it would be possible to do things like provide a new chapter of a book each day which could only be read a specific locations of your choosing. There’s also an interesting potential of bringing readers together in one place while they read your work, allowing them to discuss it with each other, so bringing strangers together through their shared love of reading the works of a specific author.

This would require some effort in behalf of the reader, and not all would-be readers would be up for it, but for those that are the experience could be truly gripping. This is, of course, all in theory, but I think it’s a technology that worth exploring because of the possibilities that it offers for writers to interact with their readers in a new and unusual way. All I need to do now is give it a go and see if it works quite as well in practice as it seems like it should in theory.

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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.