Tag Archives: murders

In which the Author proofs his next book: Bloody British History…

Bloody British History is my next non-fiction book for The History Press. It deals exclusively with the sanguinary

moments in British history, from prehistoric cannibals and the reality of  Iron Age warfare to First World War

Zeppelin raids and the Gestapo’s detailed plans for ‘rationalising’ an occupied Britain in 1940.

Along the way you will encounter bloody massacres, revolting peasants, battles at sea and on land, foul murders,

royal executions, piracy in the English Channel, and a multitude of inventive punishments. There are also

explorations of the tactics of Roman Special Forces, how to boil people to death, and a medieval case of sex, lies and witchcraft.

William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, Mary, Queen of Scots and the seven putative assassins of Queen

Victoria all get a look-in as well. Other episodes instruct you how to use medieval chemical weapons to blind your opponents, why the Wars of the Roses were like the longest football match ever, and the use of cheese as an

instrument of torture.

Yes, cheese.

One of the key moments between an author delivering the manuscript and the book actually being published is the revising of the proofs. These are the pages of the book printed out on double-sided A3 pages. The author combs

through the proofs, correcting any typos, formatting errors, incorrect image captions and so on. I’ve just completed this stage, and it’s a pleasure to see my prose matched with full-colour images on every page – not to mention

liberal splashes of graphic designer gore.

Here’s a preview of the cover, which may change a little between now and publication. Bloody British History will

be published in September. Bloody History of Britain cover

And so: there shall be blood.

In which the Author writes a vampire novel…

After writing dozens of non-fiction books on mysteries, witchcraft, zombies, ghosts, poltergeists, murders,

bodysnatching and other gleeful subjects, I’ve finally finished my first novel.

It’s a vampire novel, which will perhaps surprise no one given my genre tastes, but in addition to featuring serial

killers, explosions, bodily naughtiness, and jokes about Jimi Hendrix, it is also an alternative history.

Basically, I’m attempting to do nothing less than replace the current standard vampire mythology with an entirely

new one based around evolutionary biology and cutting-edge archaeological thinking.

I know, modesty has always been one of my greater faults.

Now that the novel is finished, the real hard work begins: trying to find a publisher or agent. Despite having written 31 non-fiction books, when it comes to getting a first novel published I’m back on the starting block.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

In which the Author heads off for Haddo House and the Unsolved Festival…


A quick reminder that on Saturday 20th October I’m appearing at ‘Unsolved’, Aberdeenshire’s Crime & Mystery Festival, which is taking place at the stately home of Haddo House near Methlick. Amidst the murders and crime writing, the films, and CSI tours of the house and gardens, at 4pm you can find me in the grand library (sadly without Colonel Mustard and a candlestick) talking about ‘Sex, Lies and Poltergeists’.


Aberdeenshire has the second oldest poltergeist case in Scotland, and I’ll be giving details of episodes from the 17th century to the present day, drawn from Haunted Aberdeen, The Guide to Mysterious Aberdeen, The Guide to Mysterious Aberdeenshire (all for sale on the day) and the forthcoming Poltergeist Over Scotland. Expect rains of stones, inundations, apports, wall-shaking noises, flying furniture and other inexplicable terrors, plus a fair dose of poltergeist hoaxing and fraud, as well as sexual shenanigans.


Tickets are £6 (£4 for concessions) and can be secured via the National Trust for Scotland website www.nts.org.uk/unsolved, or by phoning 0844 4932179. #


Programme for the weekend – Unsolvedleaflet2012