BASIC Boy and Falling Girl: free this weekend – with new covers

BB cover Oct 14       FG cover Oct14

Last night I got a call from the New York Times. ‘Christopher!’ barked the stressed journalist. ‘Your books are selling so fast, they’re breaking all records! Seriously, we’re thinking of taking them off the best-seller list, just to give everyone else a chance! For crying out loud, stop writing such excessively successful books!!!’

Partly because the above isn’t true, but mostly because I’m an incredibly kind and good-hearted human being – and also, both are ghost stories and it’s nearly Halloween – the Kindle editions of my two novels BASIC Boy and Falling Girl are free on Amazon this weekend, starting tomorrow (Friday 24th October) up to and including Sunday (26th October). Links to US and UK Amazon are at the bottom of this post.

(If you’re reading this after 26th October, don’t despair because (1) Falling Girl is always free on this website anyway, in PDF form, and (2) both books are very reasonably priced. And also available in slightly less reasonably priced paperback form.)

And … after reading some advice on cover design, I’ve slightly revised the cover of both books. I’ve also been giving some thought to the ‘do-it-yourself versus pay someone else’ conundrum. But that’s the subject of a future post.

Amazon links for BASIC Boy:

US: http://www.amazon.com/BASIC-Boy-Digital-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B00FLNLUYG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1387582153

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/BASIC-Boy-Digital-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B00FLNLUYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384117495&sr=8-1&keywords=basic+boy

Amazon links for Falling Girl:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Girl-Ghost-Christopher-Peter-ebook/dp/B0095862M8/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1387582752&sr=1-3&keywords=falling+girl

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Girl-A-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B0095862M8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384117617&sr=8-1&keywords=falling+girl

The book that most influenced me

The Scarecrows

It was the night before the Fund-raising Effort that the devils came. So it seemed to Simon Wood ever after …

Do you have a favourite novel of all time, or one that’s influenced you more than any other? You might think that’s an impossible questions to answer; if you’re anything like me then your response might be something like, ‘heck, where do I start, there’s so many?’

Yet in my case, there is one that stands out above all others. It’s called The Scarecrows by Robert Westall. I’ve posted a full review on Goodreads, which you can read if you’re interested. But here I’ll try to briefly explain why it was such a significant influence for me.

I first read The Scarecrows at the age of thirteen, which happened to be the same age as the main protagonist, Simon Wood. Its original attraction – the reason why I picked it off a bookshelf in the first place – was that it’s a ghost story, and I’ve always liked those. But there turned out to be much more to it than that. In fact it’s roughly one part ghost story, one part psychological thriller, and one part emotional drama.

Central to its power is the main character. Simon is utterly believable as the lonely, angry and confused boy who idolises his late father and sees his relationship with his mother begin to disintegrate after her remarriage to a man he hates. Simon is not always a nice person – in fact he’s sometimes pretty horrible – and so Westall did a brilliant job in making the reader root for such a dark and complex character.

What makes the story so gut-wrenchingly real is that it’s mainly Simon’s own inner demons that are tearing his family apart – and as his misery and isolation grows, so the unquiet ghosts in the ruined water-mill across the fields begin to stir, grow in power and move closer and closer … and yet, cleverly, you’re never completely sure to what extent the ghosts are ‘real’ versus how much Simon is imagining the whole thing. Nor is it at all obvious which is the most terrifying of the two prospects – you end up hoping the ghosts are really there, because the alternative – that Simon’s mind is sliding into madness – seems even worse.

Re-reading the book recently, I was able to appreciate afresh how well it’s written. The quality of Westall’s writing is superb throughout, clearly superior to most other writers (childrens’ and adults’) that I’ve seen since. It hooks you from the intriguing first sentence (at the start of this article) to the rather abrupt, slightly ambiguous ending. There’s the odd flash of humour too, despite the dark themes.

So, in conclusion, how exactly has this book influenced me? Well, aside from becoming a confirmed Westall fan, it’s no coincidence that when I finally got round to writing myself, my first two novels have been YA ghost stories, both with a background of domestic pain and upheaval, the characters contending with family strife as well as troublesome phantoms. Although I read a lot more than paranormal stuff now, and I don’t expect all my future writing to be necessarily quite so haunted (and in fact most of my short stories aren’t), my love of all things-going-bump-in-the-night was confirmed by The Scarecrows.

Falling Girl: A Ghost Story – part 7 of 7

Here it is … the final chapter of my novel Falling Girl: A Ghost Story: Falling Girl – part 7 . (Also includes some background information on castles.)

The previous six instalments can be found on the Falling Girl page.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this book, whether you’ve managed to read all of it or only part. As all writers know, constructive feedback (along with practice, practice, practice) is the best way to improve. So thank you in advance for any feedback you can give.

FG front5

“This castle is haunted. It really is. There are ghosts in the walls and towers, the passages and the dark rooms, the secret places away from the warmth and sunshine, where it’s cold and clammy and … lonely.”

When eleven-year-old Ellie Black runs into Pentrillis Castle, she’s desperate to escape her depressing family life. Her parents have split up, Dad is Mr Angry, and her new step-brother is obnoxious beyond belief.

At first, it’s much better inside the castle. The sun shines (even when it’s still raining outside), there’s fabulous chocolate cake, and she meets a friendly story-teller and two cool new friends. (There’s also a scary bit in the chapel, but she was probably just imagining things, right?)

But the story-teller has a dark and unsettling tale to tell, of tragedy … and something menacing in the shadows.

And there’s some very odd things about those new friends.

And where did that awful scream come from?

But the worst part is when Ellie realises that there’s nowhere to hide from the ghost of Pentrillis Castle …

Falling Girl: A Ghost Story – part 6 of 7

I’m serialising my novel Falling Girl: A Ghost Story on this website. Each part is free to download. These two chapters form the penultimate instalment: Falling Girl – part 6

Next week, part 7, will be the very last chapter.

Previous instalments can be found on the Falling Girl page.

FG front5

“This castle is haunted. It really is. There are ghosts in the walls and towers, the passages and the dark rooms, the secret places away from the warmth and sunshine, where it’s cold and clammy and … lonely.”

When eleven-year-old Ellie Black runs into Pentrillis Castle, she’s desperate to escape her depressing family life. Her parents have split up, Dad is Mr Angry, and her new step-brother is obnoxious beyond belief.

At first, it’s much better inside the castle. The sun shines (even when it’s still raining outside), there’s fabulous chocolate cake, and she meets a friendly story-teller and two cool new friends. (There’s also a scary bit in the chapel, but she was probably just imagining things, right?)

But the story-teller has a dark and unsettling tale to tell, of tragedy … and something menacing in the shadows.

And there’s some very odd things about those new friends.

And where did that awful scream come from?

But the worst part is when Ellie realises that there’s nowhere to hide from the ghost of Pentrillis Castle …

Falling Girl: A Ghost Story – part 5 of 7

Over the next few weeks I’m serialising my novel Falling Girl: A Ghost Story on this website. Each part is free to download. Here’s the next two chapters: Falling Girl – part 5

Previous instalments can be found on the Falling Girl page.

FG front5

“This castle is haunted. It really is. There are ghosts in the walls and towers, the passages and the dark rooms, the secret places away from the warmth and sunshine, where it’s cold and clammy and … lonely.”

When eleven-year-old Ellie Black runs into Pentrillis Castle, she’s desperate to escape her depressing family life. Her parents have split up, Dad is Mr Angry, and her new step-brother is obnoxious beyond belief.

At first, it’s much better inside the castle. The sun shines (even when it’s still raining outside), there’s fabulous chocolate cake, and she meets a friendly story-teller and two cool new friends. (There’s also a scary bit in the chapel, but she was probably just imagining things, right?)

But the story-teller has a dark and unsettling tale to tell, of tragedy … and something menacing in the shadows.

And there’s some very odd things about those new friends.

And where did that awful scream come from?

But the worst part is when Ellie realises that there’s nowhere to hide from the ghost of Pentrillis Castle …

Falling Girl: A Ghost Story – part 4 of 7

Over the next few weeks I’m serialising my novel Falling Girl: A Ghost Story on this website. Each part is free to download. Here’s the next two chapters: Falling Girl – part 4

Previous instalments can be found on the Falling Girl page.

FG front5

“This castle is haunted. It really is. There are ghosts in the walls and towers, the passages and the dark rooms, the secret places away from the warmth and sunshine, where it’s cold and clammy and … lonely.”

When eleven-year-old Ellie Black runs into Pentrillis Castle, she’s desperate to escape her depressing family life. Her parents have split up, Dad is Mr Angry, and her new step-brother is obnoxious beyond belief.

At first, it’s much better inside the castle. The sun shines (even when it’s still raining outside), there’s fabulous chocolate cake, and she meets a friendly story-teller and two cool new friends. (There’s also a scary bit in the chapel, but she was probably just imagining things, right?)

But the story-teller has a dark and unsettling tale to tell, of tragedy … and something menacing in the shadows.

And there’s some very odd things about those new friends.

And where did that awful scream come from?

But the worst part is when Ellie realises that there’s nowhere to hide from the ghost of Pentrillis Castle …