Month: February 2013

BLOOD & FEATHERS giveaway and winners!

UPDATE:

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition and spread the word on Twitter. I’ve now drawn the victims… winners and notified them.

The lucky three are:

@DogEarDiscs and @RichardKellum, who each win a signed copy of BLOOD AND FEATHERS

@CatHawkins, who wins the signed copy and the handwritten version of “The Patron Saint of Wishful Thinking” (which you’ll be able to read on here in a couple of weeks)

b and f giveaway

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you again to everyone who entered.

By the way, if you weren’t lucky this time, I’ll be doing another giveaway in the not-too-distant future, so keep your eyes open…

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I’ve decided. I’m doing a thing.

I have THREE┬ásigned (and dedicated if you’d like) copies of BLOOD AND FEATHERS to give away.

One of these copies will come with a special bonus. Allow me to explain.

In the run-up to Solaris publishing BLOOD AND FEATHERS: REBELLION later this year, I’ll be putting some short stories and flash fiction online. Some of it will tell you more about characters like Mallory; some of it might be deleted scenes. It could be anything: you’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ll be putting the first of these new stories, The Patron Saint of Wishful Thinking, up in the next couple of weeks… but whoever wins the “book-plus” giveaway will get the chance to read it first, because they’ll get a handwritten copy of it along with their book. And yes, I’ll try to keep my handwriting legible…

So that’s three copies, one with a bonus you won’t get anywhere else.

I’ll be doing this via Twitter: all you have to do is include a link to this post in a tweet along with the hashtag #bloodandfeathers. (If you want to @ me at the end of your tweet too, it’ll make you easier to find.)

I’ll be keeping an eye on everyone who tweets and will pick three names at random on SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY, starting with the two signed books, and then drawing for the book-and-short-story.

This is an international giveaway, so it doesn’t matter where you are: I’ll post the books to you.

I’ll notify winners via Twitter and the blog.

Good luck!

Green Fingers

A week or two ago, I found myself visiting a garden centre. Like you do. Except… I’ve never been in a garden centre quite like this one before. And unless your name’s either Percy Jackson or you’re a Winchester, there’s a good chance you haven’t either.

I’ll grant you that the very tail end of January isn’t the best time to visit a garden centre with its own nurseries. There were obviously lots of green things hidden behind screens, gearing up for the spring – but that wasn’t really the focus.

No. The focus was…

P rocking horse

… all the scary rocking horses.

Oh, and a frankly terrifying table:

P bear table

Seriously. Look at that table.

IT’S A RABID BEAR, READY TO HOLD YOUR MARTINI.

And that just about set the tone.

Well, that and the tangled heap of wheelchairs and pushchairs just inside the entrance to that particular shed. Were they there for visitors, I wondered… or were they all that remained of unwitting victims who’d met a sticky end while on the hunt for some begonias and a slice of cake in the cafe?

Speaking of which…

P snack booth

Uh-huh. Honestly, that’s one of the tables for the cafe. In there.

Gulp.

While you eat, you can listen to the slightly sinister bird-song piped through the whole garden centre (don’t ask me how it manages to be sinister. It just does, somehow. It’s a bit like the mist in the middle of THE CABIN IN THE WOODS) and you can gaze out at what can only be referred to as “PyroRhino”: an almost life-size bronze of a rhino, complete with gas can accessory.

Pyro Rhino

Or perhaps you’d prefer to take a moment to venture into one of the smaller sheds, where you’ll find a giant eagle swooping down on an alien band. Because REASONS.

P eagle and aliens

There was also a miniature Romany caravan, and a selection of reclining women with… shall we say “inadequate” clothing, as well as more animals and several temples.

I can’t even. I just can’t.

And in the middle of it all was an enormous, vaguely Wild West cactus garden:

P Cactus

I say “vaguely” because I’m not sure the two eight-foot tall bronze lions flanking it, nor the several life-size concrete dogs were really part of the whole Gold Rush. Nor was the twisty old olive tree, which must have been ancient, stuffed into a giant pot just out of shot.

The photos really don’t come close to doing it justice. Between the fact it was almost deserted, the creepy birdsong and the general air of… unease to the whole place, I was decidedly freaked out. But in a good way. Once you take a few minutes to adjust, you sort of sink into the crazy and go with it.

At the very back of the largest shed, there’s a heaped-up corner of sand and some benches (and a rusty speedboat in a tree. An actual speedboat. I was too startled to take a photo. And don’t even get me started on the rickshaw…) which is obviously used as a sandpit for visitors’ children.

As I passed, two women sitting on the bench (the only other people I’d seen so far, I should add) stopped talking, looked up and said: “Welcome to paradise.”

I didn’t run… but only just.