Monday, January 31, 2011


Promotion, or more importantly self-promotion is a very sticky subject. Everywhere that people can post about their books, they do. I don’t have a problem with this. Hell, I do it myself in certain places, so can hardly complain. In their (and my) defence, if people are annoyed by the posts made, they can simply choose to ignore them. I’m not sure how much good posting on message boards does anyway to be honest, because most of the people promoting/reading on these sites are other authors, and other authors are notorious for not actually buying books. I on the other hand buy too many!

But what else is a struggling author supposed to do to promote their work? It’s easy for certain people to say ‘if it’s any good people will find it and buy it.’ To my mind that just doesn’t happen, because ‘how’ do people still find the book? They still need to hear about it. That’s why I appreciate anyone who takes time to review my work, whether they like it or not. I also appreciate anyone who posts anything about my work in messages or on forums etc. It all helps a tremendous amount.

There are lots of other things people can do to help authors too. Click on the ‘tags’ on Amazon which will help get the book higher in the searches for those words. If there’s a Facebook ‘like’ link on a review or on an Amazon page for a book, click on it to share it with your friends. If you post a review because you’ve enjoyed a book, cross post to different book seller sites, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. If you have friends that read, tell them if you’ve read something great. Believe me, everything, no matter how small, helps.

So are there any other ways to help promote books? How do you help? Do you hate all the self promotion? I would love to hear your views.

Film reviews

I watched a couple of films this weekend, The Last Airbender, Psych 9 and Inception. These are my thoughts:

The Last Airbender follows the adventures of Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars, who must put his childhood ways aside and stop the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air nations. Based on a cartoon, the story line was contrived, and the acting was pretty dire, but the special effects made it watchable and it kept my son entertained. 4/10

Psych 9 was a low budget film about an unstable woman working alone at night in a recently closed hospital, where she witnesses events that may be connected to a string of murders. The actors didn’t bring any real depth to the story, and the relationship between the protagonist and her husband came across that they hated each other, even though they professed their love. Aside from this, the storyline seemed to jump around and there were numerous scenes that didn’t make much sense. 4/10.

Inception also had a storyline that jumped around, but it was undertaken in a much more stylish way. Like an onion, there were many layers to inception, which concerns a world where technology exists to allow people to enter the human mind through dream invasion. Utilising this technology, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job to date: Inception. The film contained some wonderful special effects, but it’s a film you had to watch and listen to very carefully, otherwise you wouldn’t have a clue what was going on. 7.5/10

Friday, January 28, 2011

Voyeurs and Dead Man's Eye

OK, for those who don’t know, the deluxe lettered hardcover edition of my short story collection, Voyeurs of Death is now available and shipping. It’s signed by the artist, Zach McCain and myself:

From monsters to ghosts, Shaun Jeffrey runs the gamut in this new and expanded collection. Herein are found a diverse mix of the sinister, erotic, strange and surreal. From the foreboding alleyways of Venice to a bleak Scottish island, the horror is never far away. A young boy fixes dead things. You can't always judge a man by the cut of his suit, especially when the suit isn't made of cloth. A relaxing cruise is anything but once the passengers start to die, only to then come back to life. And a trip to the past has dire consequences for the future. Now turn the page and join the voyeurs of death.

Also, the first reviews have started appearing for Dead Man’s Eye. I appreciate the time people have taken to read and review my work very much. Book bloggers are the best.

Author Shaun Jeffrey has written a dark and brilliant novella. – Fiktshun:

I read this in one day as I did not want to put this book down. – Babs World of Books:

I really enjoyed this novella. It grabs you right away and the opening train scene had me actually open mouthed. – Mommy Wants to Read:

This horror story is a riveting piece of work. – Grumpy Dan:

If you like Thriller/horror and dark novels then I highly recommend this one. – Geeky Girl Reviews:

I’ve also been working on the description for Dead Man’s Eye as I didn’t think it summed up the story well enough. Here’s what I have now:

Blighted by an eye disease, Joanna Raines undergoes a corneal transplant operation to stop her going blind. The procedure is successful, but in the weeks that follow she begins to see dark coronas surrounding certain people. By turns fearful that something has gone wrong and worried that she’s going crazy, Joanna searches for an answer to the phenomena.

What she finds will change her life forever. The transplant has opened a door in her mind, and the strange coronas are not legacies of the operation but proof that a legion of demons plans to invade the earth!

Now the only thing that stands between the demonic horde and their plot to take over the world is Joanna, a young woman with the power to see them for what they really are.

Seeing is believing.

The demons are real.

Joanna just has to convince everyone else before it’s too late.

*** ***

And as a taster, here is the first chapter:


Joanna Raines looked at the world through a dead man’s eyes.

Through one eye to be precise.

Things were still a little blurry, which was why she felt sure her transplant was being rejected – why else would it feel scratchy and appear red? She shuddered at the thought of a world in darkness if the graft failed, especially now that she could see things a little clearer. The checklist she’d been handed after the operation mentioned various symptoms to watch out for, two of which she had, which was why she’d made the appointment with the doctor.

The musical notes of the tannoy interrupted her thoughts and she listened to the disembodied voice announcing that the train would be twenty minutes late. She peered at her watch, squinting to combat the double vision so she could make out the position of the hands. Prepared for such an event, she had decided to catch the earlier train. Her hospital appointment wasn’t for another hour and a half, so she still had plenty of time to get there.

A chill wind blew through the Victorian station, carrying with it the pungent scent of cleaning fluid that tickled her nose and made her eyes water. Further along the platform, she saw a yellow triangular board, the figure on which she guessed indicated cleaning in progress. She resisted rubbing at her replaced cornea, wary of dislodging it or upsetting the stitches, which although virtually invisible, made her feel a little like Frankenstein’s monster.

Joanna stared up at the lichen coated glass roof overhead. Wan light seeped through, making her feel like she was underneath a pond. Through her new cornea, she saw blurred beams of light arcing down, like biblical rays; through her uncorrected eye, it felt like trying to stare through a dusty curtain, a common symptom of Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy.

At the sound of approaching footsteps, Joanna looked up, squinting. Despite her blurred vision, she could see a large man wearing a red vest top, and as he drew close, Joanna ducked her head, letting her black hair veil her features.

“Damn trains! Always late when you need to be somewhere at a certain time,” the man said as he sat beside her.

Despite the pressure behind her eyeball caused by leaning forwards, Joanna didn’t look up. “It shouldn’t be long,” she said, the words coming out barely more than a whisper, intensifying her insecurity.

“An optimist. I guess you don’t travel by train very often, otherwise you’d be with us pessimists.”

She gazed at her feet, all four of them. Concentrated on trying to correct the view, closing one eye at a time, but it didn’t help, and the replaced cornea actually stung and she started to feel a little giddy and sick.

“You like a stick of gum?” the man asked.

“No thanks.”

“I know, it’s god-awful muck, especially this low sugar shit. If I wasn’t in a bodybuilding competition this afternoon, I’d be eating chocolate. God, I miss chocolate. You don’t realise how much until you can’t eat it. The things we do for our dreams eh.”

Joanna nodded. She knew all about dreams. Had followed hers through college and university where she gained a BA (Hons) in photography before setting up as a freelance photographer, specialising in portraits; then her eyesight started to fail, and the dream faded along with her vision.

“Sorry for rambling,” the man said, “it’s just this fuckin- pardon my French - train, where is it? We’ll probably get some bloody lame excuse about leaves on the line next.”

Joanna heard the man tapping his foot on the ground and drumming his hands on his thighs. She could almost feel the impatience oozing out of him.

Feeling a little dizzy, she folded her arms across her chest and closed her eyes to rest her sight, but the irritation from her replaced cornea caused tears to form. The darkness behind her lids increased her fears about going blind. She couldn’t imagine a world of perpetual darkness.

Someone walked past, pulling something that rattled across the stone floor. She heard a couple of children arguing and an irate mother berating them. She also heard traffic outside and the beat of wings as a bird, probably a pigeon, flew through the station. Then she detected the sound of heavy machinery droning in the distance like a mechanical bee. The whistle of the wind blowing along the platform. And above it all, the man at her side beating out his impatient rhythm like a war beat.

She never realised before how much extraneous noise the ears picked up that the consciousness ignored.

The sudden musical note of the tannoy interrupted her thoughts and the announcer mumbled out an almost incoherent apology for the lateness of the train, and that there was a change, and it would now be arriving at platform two any minute.

“Typical,” the man beside her said as he stood and hurried away to the platform.

Joanna opened her eyes, the tears obscuring her sight even more. She blinked rapidly, aggravating the stinging sensation that felt as though she had a lash stuck on her eyeball. Despite wanting to rub it, she closed her eye and pressed the palm of her hand against the lid to soothe the pain.

She looked up at the sound of the approaching train, the engine’s single headlight like a Cyclopean eye. Through her Fuchs’ eye, she saw the light as a bright ball with needle-like rays radiating out. Through the transplant, she saw at least three bright lights.

When she looked with both eyes, the effect combined to create a distorted image.

Joanna gathered her belongings and made to stand when she heard a shout and what sounded like a hollow drum roll. She looked across the platform and saw a flurry of movement on the stairs leading down to platform two. People jumped aside, and she squinted to combat her distorted vision, recognising what appeared to be a suitcase tumbling down the steps.

The waiting passengers scattered out of the way of the falling luggage, knocking into each other in their haste.

A woman with a halo of blonde hair stepped aside, crashing into the man beside her. He grimaced and reared back, inadvertently knocking into an old woman who dropped her drink. The plastic beverage container exploded like a grenade, splattering hot liquid over the legs of a teenage girl wearing a miniskirt. She squealed and flailed her arms in the air, punching the young man next to her in the nose, and causing him to step into the path of the bodybuilder that had been sitting next to Joanna.

Unable to tear her gaze away, Joanna watched in horror as the man stumbled and then fell over the edge onto the tracks. Someone screamed. The engine driver blew his horn, the hellish sound almost deafening in the confines of the station.

Although it wasn’t going fast, the train wheels squealed against the rails. The man tried to roll out of the way, but he didn’t move fast enough. With sickening precision, the front wheel rolled across his arm.

The train stopped, and a strange silence descended.

Blood gushed from the stump where the man’s arm had been.

Joanna froze, unable to believe what she had just seen. Bile rose in her throat and she fought not to be sick.

She caught sight of movement beside the man and turned her head. Saw what looked like a strange shadow, a black ethereal mass that surged towards the fallen figure and flowed into his body through the ragged stump of the missing limb.

Thinking she’d imagined it, that she was seeing anomalous floaters, Joanna blinked, aggravating the irritating pain from her cornea. She narrowed her eyes, straining to make sense of what she had just seen.

A second later the man moved, his legs twitching. Then he sat up and grabbed the severed limb. Despite the distance, Joanna thought the sliced end looked like a cut of meat marbled with fat and muscle. But strangest of all was that although the man’s arm had been severed, he had what appeared to be a black limb protruding from the shoulder.

The man started to stand, and a strange black shadow surrounded him like a dark phosphorous corona. The nimbus was so black, it looked like an absolute absence of light, as though the man had been carved out of his surroundings.

Joanna covered her face with her hands. Either her eyes were playing tricks on her, or she was going mad …

She shuddered. Maybe there was something even worse than a world of darkness.

*** ***

Available to purchase from the following for $1.99


Barnes & Noble:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So where do you think stories come from?

Well I’m a quarter of the way into my new novel, but there’s still a long way to go. I have a very rough outline, but to be honest, most of it is written off the cuff, so what happens in the story and to the characters is a surprise to me too. But that’s what makes (at least for me) the writing process so interesting, because I often feel like I’m an instrument whose sole purpose is to write the story down, but that the story is something that’s already happened. That in some respects it’s real, and that the words that appear on the screen have been channelled through me. I mean, inspiration has to come from somewhere, so who’s to say that in an alternate universe, the worlds and people I create don’t really exist, and that really I’m writing their story, not mine.

Another scenario: The creation of imaginary worlds or fictional universes is often called 'world building', so what if by writing about them, these worlds and people are brought to life in an alternative dimension? If that's the case, the author of the story would be a God who has given life to his creations. Thereby we could be someone's fictional creations. That would mean our God(s) would then be struggling authors too.

I just wish I could create my world in 7 days. And for the record, no illegal substances were consumed or injected while writing this.

So where do you think stories come from?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The future of publishing

I have a question or two to ask today. Firstly, what do you think of the current climate in publishing? It seems to be going through a radical change, what with the current glut of ebooks. So have physical books had their day? Also, what does the future hold? Do you like reading on ereaders or does paper still win the day? It will be interesting to see how bookshops and publishers fare when so many people have decided to go the indie route. Of course not everything that has been published this way is any good, and it's surprising how many people champion authors that really need to learn how to write properly. They know the basics, but so much of the work I read is comparable to a first draft, and not something that should be out there for everyone to read before it's been through multiple edits, ideally by someone with a keen eye. So with the potential for so much bad/poor writing to flood the market, will readers’ expectations drop? Will they learn to accept what is on offer, or will they become more discerning in what they read? I know I’ve skimmed through numerous samples available to download for free, and read some terrible writing that people, probably friends and relatives of the author are praising to the skies. In my opinion this does a disservice to the author(s) who probably thinks he/she is better than they are and it does a disservice to the reader prepared to shell out their hard earned money on something that shouldn't have been published until it was ready. Constructive criticism would do some of them the world of good, as long as they were prepared to listen. What do other people think?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Review and interview

Today I was lucky enough to have a great review for The Kult appear online, and a great interview has been posted too. I'd really appreciate it if you showed some love and checked them out. And while at the interview page, check out Simon's debut thriller, Tag too:
On 15 March 2110, 6.3 billion people will die.

One man’s vision to make the world a better place.

From a world where the concept of violence has changed, and where personal privacy has been forsaken, comes a tale of conspiracy, love and murder – and the bond shared by brothers.



Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Newsletter and a free novella

As it's the New Year, I've had a little sort out and I decided to scrap my previous newsletter as I was never happy with it. So I've started a new one, and as a thank you to anyone who signs up, you will receive a coupon to download my new novella, Dead Man's Eye for free in the ebook format of your choice on Smashwords. Just visit to find the subscription details.

Dead Man's Eye
A corneal transplant does more than correct Joanna Raines sight. It allows her to see something that doesn't want to be seen. Something evil. Something that threatens mankind. The only trouble is that no one believes her, and by the time they do, it might be too late ...

Seeing is believing. Now Joanna just has to convince everyone else.