Fan Feedback: Review of The Social Club by Paul Turner

The Social Club – an Orwellian Detective Story in a Post-Apocalyptic London

first class review of The Social Club  by sci-fi dark fantasy author David J Rodger - an Orwellian detective story set in a post-apocalyptic London

David J Rodger – Infection Boundary

This is a transcript of an email exchange I’ve just had with somebody who has recently discovered my work. My most recent novel The Social Club. Very pleasing (warts and all). For completeness I’ve included my response to some of the points he raised; all of which are very valid and highlight the perils of being a one-man-band indie author.

I have removed all spoilers or personal information with XXXX and [...].


Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2014 12:25:41 +0100
Subject: The Social Club
From: turnerp3nh@XXXXX.com
To: XXXXXXX

Hi David,

Hope you are keeping well.

Just a quick note to say I have now started reading your book (a little belated, sorry). I am about a third way through and finding it absolutely gripping.

I’ll give you the full verdict in a few weeks (I am not the fastest of readers) but I am pretty sure it’s going to be worth waiting for!

All the best.

Mr Gravitas ;-)


Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 11:43:22 +0100
Subject: Re: The Social Club
From: turnerp3nh@XXXXX.com
To: XXXXXXX

Hello David,

Hope you had a good time in Malta / Gozo.

Well it’s only 2 weeks since I last wrote and I said I thought it would take a few weeks to complete my reading of The Social Club. Well obviously it didn’t and that, I can assure you, is a really good sign.  I rarely ever give up on a book but sometimes they can take ages to finish. So, finishing yours ahead of schedule meant I was speeding up as the story became more and more enthralling. Continue reading

Feedback on The Black Lake: an eerie post-apocalyptic island haunted by Cthulhu Mythos

Quick Review: Compared to The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

The_Black_Lake_a post-apocalyptic island haunted by the Cthulhu Mythos by David J Rodger compared to Kraken Wakes

A novel

David J Rodger’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world was given a spooky twist last year in  The Black Lake, after the action-packed hit Dog Eat Dog. Incidentally, this month sees the release of  The Social Club.  All three books are separate and unrelated stories that occupy the shared universe of Yellow Dawn.  The Guardian described The Black Lake as “Atmospheric & Creepy”.  Ade Couper devoured his copy of The Black Lake and posted this on Twitter. I dutifully took a screen grab to share the love here (I’m deeply flattered by his comparison):

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The Black Lake - a post-apocalyptic island haunted by Cthulhu Mythos gets nice mention on Twitter compared to The Kraken Wakes science fiction novel by John Wyndham

Click to tweet Ade

Buy The Black Lake Today

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Dog Eat Dog: feedback on the first of the post-apocalyptic “Yellow Dawn” novels

Review

Dog Eat Dog - a post-apocalyptic thriller with zombies and cthulhu mythos

A novel

In my opinion, an exceptionally well written page-turner. Packed with action that I found compelling in its attention to detail and pace, and horror scenes that had my heart pounding, the post-apocalyptic future is immersive and dystopian. If zombies are the plat du jour at the moment then Rodger is the Michelin Star chef!  -

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AUTHOR NOTE:

I always capture feedback. Positive (to promote my work) and negative (to fix where I may have gone wrong). This is a review of the novel Dog Eat Dog. It’s my fifth novel, but the first to be placed in the post-apocalyptic twist on my shared universe – set ten years after the Earth is trashed by a catastrophic event called “Yellow Dawn”.  Dog Eat Dog did phenomenally well, generated  a lot of great reviews and has been followed by the greatly enjoyed and eerily haunting tale of The Black Lake.  Incidentally, this month sees the release of  The Social Club.  All three books are separate and unrelated stories that occupy the shared universe of Yellow Dawn.

(Read More Reviews…click)

BUY DOG EAT DOG TODAY

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Feedback on The Social Club: a new science fiction thriller

Quick Review

The_Social_Club_a_science_fiction_dark_fantasy_novel_set_in_post_apocalyptic_LondonDavid J Rodger’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world continues to expand with The Social Club – following the success of the action-packed Dog Eat Dog and eerily haunting tale of The Black Lake.  All three books are separate and unrelated stories that occupy the shared universe of Yellow Dawn.

Chris Halliday has chomped enthusiastically through his copy of the book and posted up these thoughts on Facebook. So I’m sharing the love.

The Social Club a science fiction thriller by David J Rodger - quick review from Chris Halliday.

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That Was The Year That Was 2012

Personal Highlights & Low Blows

January

10 months into overhaul of Yellow Dawn I’m struggling with frustration of creative grind

sci-fi dark fantasy cyberpunk and cthulhu mythos author David J Rodger

There’s nothing ahead of me except a lot more of the same hard work

Finally feeling some positive state of mind after a hellish few days; the overhaul of  Yellow Dawn  – The Age of Hastur (2.1) to create a new fandangled version 2.5 has been going 10 months now and it’s really dragging down my spirits.  It’s not like writing a novel.

Read more…

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February

First draft of new Yellow Dawn complete <> Temperatures of -15 C <> Massive crack forming in cieling of Sky Bunker and a sense of spooky vibes from WWI postcards sent to me back in 2011 <> Plans for lots of trips taking shape.

Azathoth

All Hail The Chaos That Stalks The Space Between the Stars

Sitting here wrapped in the woolly embrace of Starsky Cardi, supping first mug of tea – and ignoring the massive crack that’s now appeared in the outward sloping roof of this room. The Sky Bunker looks set to let the sky in!  *rolls eyes*

Currently listening to a tribal electro trance mix put out by the very awesome blog, A Strangely Isolated Place. Check him out and subscribe if you want a range of electro flavours dropping into your inbox every few days. This
Azathoth

I can’t believe how long January seemed to last. It was the month of Forever-ember-uary.

However, January did see me manage to finally complete the edit for the overhaul of Yellow Dawn; after 10 months of painful progress and hard work. Now I’m wrapped in the evening tasks of formatting the document as I prepare version 2.5 for launch in the next few weeks.

I’ve also started prepping the next novel for launch; Living in Flames – a near-future (cyberpunk) horror story set in Bristol:

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February

Burn out and exhaustion as I complete Yellow Dawn 2.5.  <> Enforced chill out time and seeing friends again after so long in the creative wilderness <> Crack in roof gets worse <> Electrics blow in kitchen.

I think I’ve been burning the candle at both ends too long, and with a blowtorch. The final push to finish the 11 months of hell, re-writing Yellow Dawn; I’ve popped out the other side with a sense of grinning blissful relief… but also the (foolish) notion I can continue with the intense pace, switching to a raft of new shiny things I’ve got lined up to roll out.  Instead… I’ve succumbed to exhaustion.

On top of this, my house – Cosy Castle – is falling apart, or at least that’s how it seems. The big crack in the roof of the Sky Bunker continues to worsen and now leaks every time it rains, leaving trails of rusty water running down the inside of the wall – in one way appropriate for a writer who works with gritty horror and post-apocalyptic vistas, but living in it causes an acute sense of stress. Added to this, now have water getting into the kitchen through a flawed back-wall; electrics have blown again.  So, phone calls made, contractors coming round to evaluate damage and work required to make repairs. The joys of owning a house that’s 130 years old.

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February

Launched updated version of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur (2.5)

Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur RPG -

Available in paperback from LULU

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March

Solo drive to Hayling Island through freezing fog and a long weekend with Pete (Lone Pine), Fury of Dracula, and compiling the anthology of short stories: Songs of Spheres – with a little introduction for each story spanning 14 years of my writing career.

The_Alan_Parsons_Project_Eve-Front

The Alan Parsons Project – Eve – Soundtrack to the moment

I got down here Friday morning, took the day off work, hired a car (I’m wary of my Rocket doing long journey’s at the moment) and drove down here.  Big Pete, who this house belongs to, was there to greet me with a 6ft 2″ hug and big grin. He’s been here since Wednesday. He lives in Newcastle and until recently was the neighbour of my parents place up there…. but that’s all dead now.

The drive down was fantastic.

The whole morning was shrouded in drifting banks of fog.

Completed Songs of Spheres, anthology of my short stories (horror, cyberpunk, and Yellow Dawn).

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March

Launched new novel LIVING IN FLAMES

Living in Flames - a sci-fi cyberpunk horror novel set in Bristol - Cthulhu Mythos meets crime

Available in paperback or Kindle

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March

Launch new novel LIVING IN FLAMES <>  Return to Hayling Island for a Yellow Dawn game weekend – plus Kelvin from Spain. RPG Bliss.

Play Testers and Author of Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur - taken at Hayling Island England March 2012

Play Testers and Author of Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur – taken at Hayling Island England March 2012

Finally completed and launched the Bristol-based horror novel I –  Living in Flames.

Hayling Island. A house on the very edge of the sea. Me and a bunch of  Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur players.

Arriving at Hayling Island there’s a palpable of excitement and relief. We’re here!  Now we can decompress. All of us have been experiencing high volumes of stress with work.  Abruptly we’re in a large empty and comfortable (blokey) house and there is no plan, no agenda, no schedule to keep to.  The only thing we know we’ll be doing is playing Yellow Dawn tomorrow. This trip follows the rules of The Fellowship – a group of individuals and friends that I sometimes go travelling with… the rules are this: nobody tells anybody what they HAVE to do. Everybody is free to go off and do their own thing or join the group or… whatever. It’s easy. It’s relaxed and stress free.

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April

Down with Man Flu <> Launched special hardback edition of Yellow Dawn (2.5) <> Developed Nanomech bolt-on for Yellow Dawn

Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur RPG - Special Edition Hardback

Special Hardback Edition

Got hit by a weird strain of man-flu last week that had me nailed last weekend and most of last week. Morning’s would wake-up feeling OK but by time I’d gotten into the office in Bath, I’d be feeling like the walking dead and by time the evening swung round I was tripping out and feeling like I was drunk. Exhaustion was close on the trail.

Meanwhile I’ve been working on a super exciting new bolt-on for Yellow Dawn (The Age of Hastur) and a bunch of ideas that also fit snugly into the wider universe of my fiction writing.

Called Nanomech and Synthology, it facilitates characters buying pre-configured clumps of nanotechnology, but more importantly, clumps that can be re-configured by tech-heads into new and diverse creations, using deployment code templates.  Of course, those characters with less skill than great ideas will experience the joys of aberrant technological mutations. Counter to  this is the parallel technology of synthetic biology: splicing existing genetic code together to create new “things”; from bacteria able to eat up oil spills to larger and more complex organisms that can do… whatever you can dream of, so long as you can get past ethical and moral issues of intelligent and self-destiny.

Read more…

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April

Riding the Orient Express (British Pullman)

Orient Express leather ticket pouch held by British Sci-fi Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger

Orient Express leather ticket pouch

Get to London. Short walk to Victoria train station but we’re early. Kill some time at a Pret Manger: standing there in the big window by a narrow bench, munching on a salmon cream cheese slice of heaven, I’m aware of the number of glances and stares I’m picking up. It’s the suit. Jo and I grin about it.

We return back to Victoria and find that the tiny little Orient Express check-in office is now open; tucked away beside platform 2. There are two impeccably dressed women outside, serving coffee from flasks; they’re smiling and genuinely welcoming and not at all what you would normally get from service. Everything is groomed to make YOU feel special. The personal egos (and mood) of the staff are subsumed within the larger identity of the company. It’s an immediate and enchanting effect.

Then the train pulls into the station and there’s an electrifying crackle of anticipation from all the gathered passengers. Local trains pulling into the station disgorge commuter passengers who pause or slow their stride to take notice of this spectacle of a bygone era: a platform of smartly dressed passengers making their way inside the Orient Express.

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May

Malta – incredible island with 7,000 years of history pressing down on it

malta-valletta-street-view

Malta, Valletta – street view

A tiny island 18 miles long by 9 miles wide with 7,000 years of human history crammed down on top of it in compressed layers.  I had no idea how potent the history of the country is, and how vital a role it has played in so much history involving Europe and the Middle East since time immemorial – occupying a central position in the heart of the Mediterranean sea.  It may as well be a floating fortress. A staging post for armies throughout history.  From neolithic settlers who arrived 7,000 years ago from Sicily, to the Phoenicians with their “imperial” purple dye (20,000 Murex shells were needed for 1 gram of dye) and the Romans – with their Punic wars – and then the Muslims, the Knights of St John, the Normans, the French with Napoleon treating the Christian island like his own penny jar to raid to fund the campaign in Egypt, and then Nelson and the British. In general, the Maltese people are wonderfully friendly, hospitable and respectful.  They go out of their way to make sure you’re having a lovely time and the price of things is reasonable, rather than being a tourist rip-off accompanied by cynical service.   If you’ve not been to Malta before then I can’t recommend the place highly enough.

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June

Incredible week at a remote cottage in Wales – writing retreat – working on The Black Lake

strumble-head-lighthouse-set-dramatically-against-the-night-sky-a-beam-of-light-circling-photo-by-hagen-landsem

Strumble Head Lighthouse – evening view from remote cottage in Wales

The lighthouse was set dramatically against the night sky, a beam of light circling around it.  This amazing sight sits a little over a mile from the cottage. It greeted me in the morning when I supped my first mug of coffee, and it enchanted me every night as I stood by the window, staring, supping wine and listening to “Montok Point” by William Orbit.

It was the Royal Diamond Jubilee celebration.  Rented a cottage for the week.  A fantastic place, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms (master en-suite) and an utterly cosy open plan living room, kitchen and breakfast bar (which became my study for the entire week).  Strumble head occupies a rugged headland on the far west coast, a region called Pembrokeshire.  Insanely beautiful coastline, cliffs, blue sea crashing on rocks, wild birds and seals.  Most wonderful of all was a lighthouse, sitting on a fang of rock sitting out in the surging sea – a stubby metal mesh bridge connecting it to the mainland.

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June

Swimming in the rain – Clifton Lido and The Shortest Night

Clifton Lido Spa  Bristol England

Clifton Lido Spa – England

Welcome to England. Summer and it’s pissing down. This was back on Thursday last week. The longest day of the year. I’d wanted to be with family up in the arctic, celebrating with a bottle of whisky sitting in a rowing boat on a fjord under the magical glow of the Midnight Sun. However events here have kept me UK bound for the next few weeks. Plus I’m getting near the end of a new novel - The Black Lake – and writing within a momentum is important at this stage.

A couple of good friends of mine suggested a return to Clifton Lido, a shallow outdoor pool surrounded by grand Georgian houses in the hidden heart of Bristol’s upper echelons. Last time I went there was back in November when the temperature was close to zero oC – swimming with steam rising off your body (swimming under the stars & cocktails).  And like then, this visit was superb.  A visceral experience, where your bare body is subjected to the raw elements. In this case – sheets of chilly rain.  However, it comes with the blissful escape clause of luxury sauna, steam room and jacuzzi placed within trotting distance of the pool, walls of thickened glass providing a two-way view of both worlds; the external elements and the internal comfort.

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July

Significant Social Event – new friends discovered – enter…The Crew

photos-the-return-of-the-1970s-a-private-party-at-the-big-chill-bar-bristol-uk-scary-hippy-chick

Ginny – one of the new social group – The Crew

 Back in May, whilst watching the Olympic flame being brought into Bristol, I struck up conversation with a young couple sitting beside me on the edge of the river; instant friendship. One of those moments when you just “know”. Later I took them to the Grain Barge and in that busy crowded place there was only one free table – a solitary bloke sitting there minding his own business. I asked if we could share the table and we promptly took over – and included him in the unfolding of new friendships. This was Jeff – and like the young couple – Chesney and Ginny – became instant and very close friends.  One of the most wonderful things to have happened this year if I think about it.

This was the weekend I was furiously working towards the end of the new novel, The Black Lake. Fingers blurring over the keyboard all Saturday – using my Da Vinci method (polyphasic sleep) to keep spiking my brain with freshness. Come Saturday night – I was so near to finishing and yet just not there.  Close but no cigar.  In a remarkable example of how I’m managing to fight back against the internal beast that tries to covet all my time, I closed down the laptop – got dressed up and went out and joined friends for a night of fun.  Freaking glad I did.  Awesome night.  Which is pretty much the standard for any time I’ve gone to the Big Chill Bar.  People rocked up with great costumes and wide smiles.

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July

Facing the demons of my childhood past – Newcastle – Heaton

Victoria Library Heaton Park View Newcastle Upon Tyne England UK

Victoria Library Heaton Park

If Pete had chosen to live anywhere else, it wouldn’t have been so weird to go back. But now I’m walking through the echoes of my deepest past.

I went “home” to Newcastle last week. I say home, but I’m faced by the reality that the place I grew up in, the house that was my family home for the past 31 years now has a locked  door.  It might sound a little dramatic but ever since I could remember – every time I came back to Newcastle, my experience of getting home has revolved around the same routine – a bus or plane ride to Newcastle, then the Metro to (W) Jesus Mound and then the walk through familiar streets that I’ve pounded since being 9 years old.  And always ending at the same destination.  Kosekroken.  My dad died when I was 36.  But I still went home. My mum died when I was 39 – but the house then belonged to us (children), and I still went back.

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August

Dancing in the fire – up close with the night glow at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

August. My mate bought a hot air balloon for his company. And it was making a debut here at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. He invited us to join him in the VIP area. Getting there we found ourselves wading through 300,000 people in a tightly cordoned area. Freaking intense – but finally made our way to the gated entrance where we were able to step past security, through into the wide open space of the central field where several dozen balloons where lying deflated – waiting for darkness to come. Great atmosphere – especially being able to lounge around nice tables in the comfort and space away from the massive crowds.

Once it was dark, the Night Glow begins. All the balloons inflate over 30 minutes or so and then abruptly the darkness is swept away by the roaring blast of burners lighting up the night. Magical. Especially being so close to the action. Although we soon got much closer.

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August

Krakow – magical medieval city <> Wieliczka Salt Mines

Wawel Castle Krakow Poland

Wawel Castle Krakow Poland

Krakow invites you to walk its cobbled and paved streets.  It is a walking city.  The Old Market is a VAST open space surrounded by beautiful buildings and even the large clusters of bric-a-brac stalls doesn’t rob any notion of the space that’s available to you.  The edges of lined by rows of chairs and tables beneath umbrellas. And unlike most cities where the local establishments try to rip you off for sitting somewhere nice, here you can sit and enjoy a drink and some nibbles from bright and friendly staff.

I have a friend called Jake. I met him in Bristol in 1997 when he was bouncing between worlds with his wife (of that period).  I gave them a place to stay when they needed one. Eventually they would be the couple who gave me their bed for a week in Vancouver (2003).  After 2003 I didn’t see Jake again until he came to visit me in Bristol in 2008, this time with a new partner (Mags); meanwhile he’s been through the many ups and downs that the journey of life can throw you through. Toronto and Berlin have seen him arrive and go.  And now here he is, living in Krakow. So, in line with our tradition of seeing each other every 4 or 5 years, we hook up on my first night in Krakow. I walk down into the old Jewish quarter: Kazimierz. There’s a bar called Singer’s – every table is an old sewing machine. And later we’re eating the most amazing Russian dumplings at a place that has 28 different types of dumpling on the menu.  I could have lived there.

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August

The gut wrenching horror of Auschwitz and Birkenau

Auschwitz – Main gate

Auschwitz – Main gate

Auschwitz. A deeply thought provoking place.  Our guide got us inside and then left us to it.  I cut loose and made my own route.  What really got me was the built-up, almost urban structure of the place. Like the dormitories of some private school, or a government complex from the war era.  But then you look at the twin rows of electrified barbed wire – enough juice to kill you, which is how some people ended their lives by just throwing themselves against the wires – and you visualise the thuggish guards with their sticks, machine guns and dogs.  And so many people confined in this organised hell.

There’s a lot of contextual information placed there as you walk between and through the buildings.  Auschwitz has become a museum. A record of human barbarism and atrocity in a time that is only yesterday. It is a beacon of warning to the new generations: may we never let it happen again.

Most chilling for me was the death wall. A courtyard between two blocks.  A doorway in the side of one building (#11) led straight from the washroom out into the courtyard where people were summarily shot – or subjected to prolonged public torture.   Black and white drawings, as large as life, give you a visual inkling of what it could have been like. But only a numb whiff of the true emotional horror.

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August

Launched my 7th novel, The Black Lake – only took 7 weeks to write!

The Black Lake - a post-apocalyptic haunting - Cthulhu Mythos horror

Available in paperback or kindle

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August

I celebrate my birthday for the first time in years

Birthday Cake for Writers - British Sci-Fi Dark Fantasy Author David J Rodger celebrates his 2012 birthday on Grain Barge Bristol

It’s my cake. I’ll eat all of it if I want to!

It was my birthday the other day. I was trying to recall the last time I’d actually celebrated it – always away or “too busy” writing to bother. I think it was when I was 25.

So a last-minute text to a bunch of folks living in Bristol led to a fantastic night at the Grain Barge, an old boat moored up on the edge of the harbour loaded with smiles and the best local ales (Bristol Beer Factory) this side of the planet.

It was lovely to see disparate clusters of friends and new individuals come together in one place; many of them had never met each other before – only knowing me. So it was great to see new connections forming and conversations flowing.  Fab cake from The Crew.

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September

Everything changes <> My entire world seems to detonate – extreme personal trauma leads to acute insomnia

personal trauma - your world has just come to an end

BOOM – Nothing Can Ever Be The Same Again

It started like just an ordinary day… new job – followed by decision to stop writing, which opened up deep hidden subconscious floodgates – fresh stress in the form of my parents house (£££) – going 5 days without sleep nearly drove me mad – a month later I went 10 days without sleep… and I did go mad. The horror show lasted from September right through into December.

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September

Amongst the hell – an island of blissful sanctuary – a road trip around Sicily

Travel photo - Sicily - Taormina -  warning light against sea horizon by David J Rodger

Taormina – overlooking the sea as Vincent Brent would have done. Iconic image for me. Hope and dreams of the future.

Not Italy. That’s the way they view it.  I was in Malta back in May.  Toured around various archeological and city-based sites, hired guides, did the whole thing. Bloody amazing place. Getting back I was hungry for more of the same-same but different.  Whilst visiting some of the neolithic temples on Malta the guide stated that the people who settled there 5,000 years ago came from Sicily. Bingo, great excuse to go there then.  Booked the flights and accommodation near Agrigento and in the heart of Taormina.

Taormina was actually the primary reason for going to Sicily.  I’ve never been there before in reality, but back in 1997 and again in 2004 I went there for a long period of time in my mind and imagination: I used the cliff-based town as a location for major scenes that take place in two novels, Dante’s Fool and Iron Man Project.  So I was super excited about the chance to finally go there in the flesh and walk in the footsteps of some of my favourite characters: Natalya Dorganskya, Vincent Brent and the ubiquitous Jean-Luc Korda.

Flew into Catania and caught a ride to just outside Agrigento.  Not much happening there but it’s right next door to the Valley of the Temples and provided an opportunity to switch-off and chill out with a reasonable (and slightly random) hotel.  Down-time was a big need, for taking a break from the punishing writing regime I’ve been under for several years.

I’m also delighted to find the Return of the Mood (my weird scrambled sensory phenomenon that occurs every few months).

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October

I shook hands with Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot – aka the actor David Suchet

Actor David Suchet - Agatha Christies Hercule Poirot shakes hands with British Sci-fi Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger at Cheltenham Lit Fest 2012

Actor David Suchet (Hercule Poirot ) shakes hands with David J Rodger

Getting back to England the post-travel blues were swept away by a swift visit to Cheltenham where I got to enjoy an audience with the actor David Suchet, as he discussed his career to date, and the very special contribution he has made to the wonders of Agatha Christie. On the 15th October he’ll be starting filming of the very last Poirot story – roughly 23 days of filming; followed by filming of the previous and final four stories (The LeMesurier Inheritance is being bundled into The Labours of Hercules).  Once completed, it will make David Suchet the only actor to have ever completed performances of every Poirot story in Christie’s canon of work.  Something the man should be very proud of because he has done such a wonderful job of it.  David Suchet is one of the few genuine heroes I hold in my mind.  So it was an insane treat to be able to meet him at a little area later, shake his hand and share some words with him: I spoke about the Simplon Orient Express – his visible pleasure of being able to ride it to Venice, how I thought his performance in Murder on the Orient Express was sublime.  The man is an absolute gentleman charmer – and a secret comedian. Very intelligent. Very witty. Fantastic to meet and talk to.

For hours later, I kept looking at my hand thinking… wow. I shook hands with Hercule Poirot.

Read more…

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November

New York – New York

New York - Freedom Tower Rises - Viewed from Staton Island Ferry

New York – Freedom Tower Rises – Viewed from Staton Island Ferry

Against the backdrop of weeks of personal trauma and insomnia I take a trip to the great playground that is New York. It’s through this trip that I discover the core reason for the personal crash I’m going through is delayed grief over the death of my parents.  Writing every hour I wasn’t working or asleep is what has kept this grief at bay for 3 (plus) years.  I stopped writing in September – and VOOOMP – everything dark and painful bubbled up to the surface.

Despite this – the trip was good.

It was a Tuesday night, New York in late November – a chill wind blowing in off the river and my friends and I were hurrying from a rendezvous at Bryant Park, just behind New York Central Library, to meet another friend on 9th avenue. Fate had us trudging quickly along 38th Street between 5th and 6th avenues, racing to get to 9th.  I pass this place and literally screech to a stop. Something about the interior, the design, the glimpse of the ambience registered on lots of levels. And then I saw the words: Chinese Dumplings. One of my favourite things.

As I stood there, gawping  some random bloke walked past and called over to me, “Man! That place is AMAZING!” So…. a couple days later I return. This time not in a rush to meet anybody AND feeling rather peckish. The owner and I got talking and he just blew me away with his generous and energetic spirit. Great atmosphere. Great business. And GREAT food.

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December

“Atmospheric and creepy” – The Guardian. Critical but positive review of my latest novel, The Black Lake, by one of the UK’s leading news sites

the-guardian-news-website-reveiws-the-black-lake-by-david-j-rodger-fun-atmospheric-and-creepy-but-better-editing-could-have-helped

Critical but very positive

But those quibbles aside, The Black Lake was good fun: short, atmospheric and creepy. Having read tons of zombie novels, and horror novels, I’m surprised a publisher hasn’t snapped this one up, as it could definitely hold its own alongside more traditionally published genre material. If I had the time, I wouldn’t mind returning to check out some of Rodger’s other novels, set in the Yellow Dawn world.

- Alison Flood, The Guardian

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December

Pete (Lone Pine) travels down to Bristol from Newcastle <> Playing Fury of Dracula on the Grain Barge for a whole afternoon

fury-of-dracula-1987-gothic-board-game-with-painted-call-of-cthulhu-investigator-figures-used-as-pieces

Fury of Dracula (1987) Boardgame

If you’re the kind of person who considers the limit of board games to be Cluedo, Monopoly and maybe a little bit of Risk then hopefully this post will inspire you to check out and acquire (if you’re lucky enough to find a rare copy still available) a copy of what is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect games ever created.

Fury of Dracula was released in 1987 by Games Workshop following its creation by Stephen Hand.  I purchased a copy in 1990 whilst living in Osbourne Avenue (Jesmond) in Newcastle Upon Tyne – I was 19 and enjoying the “perfect shared-house” experience. A blissful bubble period of my life that overlapped with the first few months of me starting out (rather wistfully and naively) to become an author of horror novels.  That aside, the game came to dominate the sultry summer evenings of that year as my close friend Richy and I played session after session for weeks.  To the point that whenever I see the lid of the box the game comes within, I’m always drawn back to potent memories of my small room within the eaves of the house and the garret window that overlooked the graveyard across the road – and the heat of those nights, despite the window being wide open. Candles burning. Spooky music playing. Perfect atmosphere for this game of gothic adventure.

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December

A fantastic Christmas and New Year period – one of the best ever <> a period of healing and a gradual return to writing since I stopped in September

Christmas 2012 - photo of slippers in front of a cast iron stove log burning fire

Christmas 2012 – photo by David J Rodger – All Rights Reserved

It wasn’t the kind of Christmas I normally have – but it was still perfect, for so many reasons. Friends and the comfort of another person’s family; warmth, people; Cluedo and Dominion; roast gammon victory.

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Letters: Fan feedback on The Black Lake – best yet

This email is about my latest novel The Black Lake.  Always nice to get words like this. I’ve removed SPOILERS by overwriting them with XXX.

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> Subject: The Black Lake
> From: xxxx@floydhayes.com
> Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:14:53 -0400
> To: xxxxxx@xxxxx.com
>
> Hi David,
>
> As usual when I finish one of your books, I think, “this is his best yet .”
>
> I read TBL up at the house in the Catskills over a 3 day period, alone. A Hudson valley bourbon by my side, the environment is pretty creepy on your own – the silence, the massive ancient mountains. The woods. Not only that but I had an infestation of “stink bugs” – harmless but quite unnerving – like little brown crickets. Maybe 20 or so in any given room. Easy to catch in a jar, but they buzz when they fly…
>
> That’s the setting.
>
> I loved the book. It was your most “horror” to date, in some ways…there were some well trodden horror tropes here but felt stronger in your hands – im thinking of when the XXXXX is seen in the lightning when our man had presumed it was tarp….
>
>
> I wrote a few comments as I went through.
>
> Some great one liners in here, “it was August and there was ice in the sea”
>
> The checklist of equipment, I thought was smart as it underlined the fact this was a proper expedition, not a boys own adventure….

>
> Giggledust really did it for me – brilliantly described and an amazing piece of SCI Fi thinking. Absolutely loved this character/tech.
>
>
> The chill vortex – shudder – fantastic idea….reminiscent of Frank Herbert.
>
>
> You deftly got round the whole “why don’t you tell your comrades about the XXXXX?”  Very human and keeps the isolation going…isolation being a good psych button throughout.
>

>
> Tornado description properly scared me…
>
> The tatters XXXXXwas horrid. Kudos for that one.
>
>
> Nice breather when he XXXXXXX  – needed a little reprise from the mare and it was well-timed here.
>
> Fantastic description of XXXX losing the plot, “like a simple mind seeing something it wanted but could not articulate the desire “
>
> Sundown and time running out worked so well man….”the darkness ruled his life”
>
> Very good man. Gripping and horrible.
>
> F.
>

the-black-lake-a-ghost-story-within-the-cthulhu-mythos-by-british-sci-fi-dark-fantasy-author-david-j-rodger

Available in paperback or Kindle

Paperback: LULU & Amazon Kindle US ($), UK (£), DE (Euro), FR (Euro)

THE BLACK LAKE: The Earth has been ravaged by an event known as Yellow Dawn. Ten years later, survivors are putting lives back together and probing the frontiers of a new Wilderness; whilst overhead the orbital colonies slide across the sky, removed and unaffected. Five men leave the fortress island of Malta on an expedition to the sub-Arctic waters above Scotland. They intend to undertake scientific observations of an alien meteorological phenomenon that has followed the apocalyptic event. What they find is a cosmic horror that seethes amongst the shadows of a shattered Earth. It is a story of escape and wonder, of madness and terror. David J Rodger’s trademark unforgiving rendering of harsh reality, and relentless narrative pace, are here in palm-sweating abundance, delivered in a novel that tears open a rent in the boundary of reality, providing a nerve-jarring glimpse of the Outer Chaos and the horrors that lurk just beyond the threshold of our fragile, human existence.

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Book review: fabulous words about Living in Flames – a sci-fi cyberpunk horror set in UK

I just got pinged by Google Alerts: a review had been posted about my latest novel, Living in Flames. Thought I would share the good words.Reading feedback like this makes it all worth it.  :o)

Book Review - Living in Flames - a Sci-Fi Cyberpunk Dark Fantasy Horror set in UK

Taken from Floyd Hayes.com - click to go there

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Purchase Links:

BUY > paperback : from LULU

BUY > kindle: US ($), UK (£), DE (Euro), FR (Euro)

DESCRIPTION:

Living in Flames { novel } Bristol, UK, the near future, the lives of three people collide in a gruesome twist of fate. A former marine turned to crime, and two enigmatic figures concealing their true identities, skimming the city’s underworld of drug-cartels and shadowy tendrils of old merchant families. A carved African idol is discovered clutched in the hands of a dead man who is barely human. Greed unlocks a centuries-tarnished mystery about the origins of the idol, and brings back to Bristol a banished bloodline hell-bent on vengeance and diabolical glory. A carrion God lying dormant for three hundred years risks being returned to the world of Man.

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