Category Archives: Blood on the Ground
I know, it’s a crap word, but I couldn’t think of a clever one. If you do, let me know and I’ll edit this and credit you. They say you should always find a unique title for your book, but given the vast sweep of history and all its words, that’s not always possible. I set out to find out what other books share a title with mine.
First up, there’s a 64-page version of Tolstoy’s War & Peace presented using photographs of rabbits dressed in clothing. It’s called ‘Rabbit Warren Peace’ and it looks BRILLIANT. Also, famed science-fiction writer Bob Shaw has written a couple of comedies about a cardboard-like, sitcom-like hero, Warren Peace, called ‘Who Goes Here’ and ‘Dimensions’.
Warren Peace Title-twins: 2
I expected to find that “there’s loads of books called Fog”, as a visitor told me at Indie Litfest last year but, although a legion of books have the word within a longer title, only James Herbert’s ‘The Fog’ comes close to the singular, and as I pointed out to my surly visitor, his doesn’t have a cool running man in the letter ‘O’.
Fog Title-twins: 1
In my innocence I imagined that ‘Moth Girl’ (even without her bats) would be unique, but no! Here comes ‘Moth Girls’ by Anne Cassidy, so called because girls are drawn to a particular house like moths (that’s light, Anne, not houses), rather than because, like my heroine Thea, they look like a moth when dressed in a weird cloak and flying goggles.
Moth Girl Title-twins: 1
This one surprised me. Who’d have thought there’d be other ‘Blood on the Ground’s? There are, though. There’s Paul Usiskin’s torrid tale of murder, dangerous love, and techno-porn (I know!) across the Israel-Palestine divide. Not a lot of laughs in that one, I’ll warrant. I’d prefer Lenora Rain Good’s ‘Blood on the Ground: Elegies for Waiilatpu’, 22 poems about the 1847 Waiilatpu massacre. Sod it, I’m buying that one.
Blood on the Ground Title-twins: 2
Happily, my other titles – Cubic Scats, Soul of the Universe, Cutthroats and Curses, Human 76 and the imminent The Museum of White Walls – appear to have no title twins at all. Which I choose to interpret as a 5-4 win for me, so ner.
Anyroad, I apologise to those of you who have been queueing outside Wombat Towers breathlessly awaiting the release of my new collection of tales, but I’m delaying publication of ‘Blood on the Ground’ by just one day. The reason for this is purely sentimental. Two years ago on the 11th September my first book, ‘Warren Peace’, was published. That’s right, just two years. Seems hard to believe doesn’t it? It feels appropriate that, in a kind of half-arsed celebration, I should release my eighth book on the second anniversary of my first. Such is the way of wombats.
Eight books in twenty-four months – I won’t be keeping that pace up for the next two years, I can tell you. Currently I have a couple more short stories to tell, promised for new anthologies, and then I’ll be giving full throttle to ‘The Raven’s Wing’, my weird medieval-adventure-mystery-history-murderfest (working title ‘1322’). That’s like to take me until well into 2015. After that I have been commissioned to write the story of Rollie Bucholz, an American pilot who volunteered to fight for Britain in 1939, long before the USA entered World War 2. My present thinking is to make that a biography written like a novel.
Keep watching the skies.
Here, have a snippet from ‘Valentine’, one of the stories in “Blood on the Ground”, my new collection out in paperback tomorrow:
Such a perfect blue, those eyes. Gareth gazed into them, certain that she was the one. The corners of her faultless mouth dimpled. He stroked her waist, and squeezed her fingers with his other hand as they swayed to the seductive rhythm of ‘Moonlight Serenade’. As the music ended, he brushed her ear with his lips.
“Will you be my Valentine?” he whispered.
“If you’ll be mine,” she smiled, those amazing eyes twinkling.
“Come up to my room?”
She bit her lip, and glanced nervously at the other dancers, as if they might have heard. She nodded.
“But come to mine. I shall be able to relax more. And only for a quiet drink.”
She gave a stern look. He had better not frighten her with over-enthusiasm.
“I cannot promise not to kiss you, you have beguiled me so. We can stay here, if you feel safer.”
Marian dimpled one side of her tempting mouth in a wry grin and raised a mischievous eyebrow.
“Perhaps just one kiss.”
Bingo. He had been right to target this shy little wallflower rather than one of the more confident women here. An innocent conquest was far more exciting.
Isn’t it beautiful? Don’t you want to stroke it, feel the wood beneath your fingers*? Click on the picture there to revel in the luxury of a larger image. I proudly present for your delectation the cover of my new book of short stories, available in paperback in but a few days. A Kindle version will follow thereafter. As ever, Mr. Thom White has done a superb job, once again producing not only a book cover but a work of art.
“Help yourself to a dozen dollops of whimsy from Michael Wombat, shortlisted for the HNS Short Story Award 2014. From cowboys to dragons, from hilarity to horror, this cornucopia of diverse adventure will absorb, amuse, thrill and terrify you. You know, I hate writing back cover blurbs. All that snappy ‘Blurbspeak’. This one’s rubbish, isn’t it? “Dollops of whimsy” sounds like the sort of Edwardian novel where nothing happens, and keeps on happening. ‘The Dollops of Whimsy End’, a new novel from Mr. Michael Wombat (not really).”
Anyway, get this book. You’ll really enjoy the stories inside it.”
Observant readers will know already of the running man that adorns several of my books. On the left you can see his debut on the cover of the paperback version of Fog. He also popped up on the back cover, legging it frantically across the barcode, as indeed he did on the back cover of the Fog Special Edition hardback, although the rather wonderful front cover design of that edition from Thom White meant he had to bow out there.
We couldn’t keep him away for long, though, and when Moth Girl versus The Bats appeared, again with a Thom White cover, there he was again, tirelessly scampering across the barcode. People began to notice him, and asked why he wasn’t on all my books. The answer is that he marks a Wombat book with a Thom White cover. Except Cubic Scats, because we hadn’t thought of it yet. Thom is a remarkably talented designer who has the rare knack of capturing the feel of a book in a deceptively simple manner. His covers greatly add to the quality of my work, and his covers are real works of art. Who wouldn’t want a poster of that Moth Girl cover?
Running man fans who are looking forward to his next appearance will not have much longer to wait. Take a look on the left. There he is from the cover of my new collection of short stories, ‘Blood on the Ground’, which will be published early next week. I will reveal the full cover here later today, but for now do you notice anything different about our running man?