Emi: The Search Begins

Hi everyone,

With the completion of my dark fantasy novella, Emi, I find myself at a familiar point in the writing-to-shelf process. As my usual publisher, Inspired Quill, doesn’t print novella length fiction (and I can’t blame them as they’re stacked with new author releases right now, too), I’m on the hunt.

What am I looking for? A needle in a haystack. The story is far too long for magazine publication as almost all won’t take stories over 10k words and fewer serialise. I need a publisher who not only publishes shorter novels (Emi weighs in at around 25.5k words), but one that’s willing to take a chance on a very different kind of story. The romantic in me aspires to the likes of Clive Barker whose novella The Hellbound Heart is a personal fav and legendary in the horror genre (it was the story on which Hellraiser was based). However, good old reality tells me that I’m definitely not Mr. Barker.

I know that I can’t possibly compete for the attention of the likes of the BIG publishers such as Tor or Gollancz, and they often have such strict criteria for stories that my genre-ignoring efforts never meet what they’re looking for. I need an indie publisher, just like IQ, who are willing to just read it and, hopefully, they’ll like it when they do.

I’m starting to remember how much I hated this part of the process. Surfing the net isn’t the right word when it comes to looking for publishers and publications. Trawling, perhaps? Net cast wide, tugging along. There are so many publishers and publications out there, all trying to get themselves noticed, their work out there, their dream fulfilled. And then there are the other authors like me, smothering the publishers with our queries and submissions. We’re insufferable, we really are.

It sounds terrible, but we don’t just want to find any old publisher, either. Find one that’s too new and inexperienced, your book will never be seen. Find one that has an ego and you’re equally scuppered. The minefield extends as far as the eye can see. And this little tug boat, along with a fleet of others, just wants to find a safe harbour where we can drop off our fish.

I think I might be stretching this metaphor a bit far, now.

But, you get what I mean. While we’re all happy to just get our work in print, we also need to be careful that we don’t sell ourselves short. That book that you’ve worked was hard work, and you want it to do well. So you need a publisher who will work with you, and help you to reach your goal with a view to helping them make a little money and gain recognition right along with you (if you’re lucky enough to get some, of course).

If I can’t find a publisher, I might go back to self-publishing like I did with Not Before Bed all those years ago. It’s a daunting thought as I’m very aware that I suck at it. That’s why Inspired Quill have been so amazing. They know what they’re doing and it means that I don’t have to. Still, needs must, and the few people who have read Emi have said it’s the best thing I’ve written (not hard, I know). It’d be a shame if it never saw light of day.

So, there we are. I just wanted to share with you all where I’m at. In the meantime, the work on spreading the word about Old Haunts: The Adventures of Alan Shaw #2 continues ready for March next year. I can’t wait for you guys to read it. I hope you all like it.


Thanks for reading!


Alan Shaw is back!

Hi everyone,

Over the last week you might have seen on my Facebook page that Old Haunts: The Adventures of Alan Shaw volume 2 is officially finished and on its way!

We have a brand new cover and blurb for you (take a look at the bottom of this post) but we also have news!

Firstly, you can head over to Amazon and pre-order the next book RIGHT NOW!

If you do order from Amazon, the book will not only arrive with you as soon as humanly possible after the release on 24th March. Obviously I’d be more than happy to sign those copies if you bring them along to any signing or convention in the future (for people who’ve expressed a worry that they can’t get them signed).

Secondly, I can reveal that the first book in the series will also be getting a super-sexy new cover to match the new one! So by the time I’m doing the signing rounds, you’ll be able to get a matching set. If you’re anything of a book geek as much as me, that’ll please you no-end.

That, of course, means that the original design with my own illustrations on the cover and on the inside will have been a limited run only and so that’ll be nice for my early supporters and readers to still have those. That feels like a nice thing to do. What do you guys think?

However, you can still get that cover for the time being, so if you do want it, I advise you grab one while you can.

Now for a quick break, take a look at the new cover and blurb!

2017-547 Craig Hallam, b02AS2 Blurb


I hope that tantalises your literary taste buds!

And now, before I sign off, I’d like to make a short plea for assistance. You’ve all been so supportive over my entire burgeoning career as an author. I’m incredibly grateful for everything you’ve all done. If you could keep helping as you have been, it would be greatly appreciated. Some easy ways that you can help are:

  1. Share posts, images, posts and your opinions of the books – Likes are very much appreciated and really make me feel supported. But Sharing’s where it’s at. That’s how more people will see the books and hopefully help me to keep writing
  2. Reviews and ratings – Even a quick star rating on Amazon and Goodreads makes a huge difference to visibility and getting the word out
  3. Get involved! – You know we still have a Reader Gallery right? Get in there! Take pics of yourself, your pets, or your postal delivery person with the books. Do a drawing of your favourite character. Have the Greaveburn logo tattooed on your forehead! (Ok, not that one). Every conversation that you start on Reddit, or twitter, every hashtag and picture is essential to my total world dominatio…I mean, helps me to keep writing.

Thank you so very much, everyone, for your constant support. You’re all amazing and I feel an appropriate amount of affection for all of you 😉


Thanks for reading, my lovely Weirdos.

Embrace the Weird!

The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume 2

Morning everyone!

I come to you today to share some great news (well, I think it is, anyway). The sequel to my Steampunk epic adventure, The Adventures of Alan Shaw, is completed and ready to rock!

That’s right. The edits are done, the cover is complete, and it’s ready to wing its way to your shelves.

But wait…

As I’m sure you all know, it isn’t as simple as that. First, we must perform the ritual of book marketing whereby many innocent posts and tweets are sacrificed to the Dark Gods of Publishing. Inspired Quill have provided me with some teaser material to share with you all in little tantalising nuggets for the next week or so, possibly ending in a giveaway of some kind that I’m sure I’ll figure out when we get there (I’m so organised it hurts).

Anyway, over the next week I’ll be releasing the cover, the title, the release date and the blurb for all of you to salivate over (or possibly not, but I have to hope, right?) and, with that in mind, I would like to give you the first teeeeasery tease. A sliver of the book’s cover!

Title Teaser 2[2340]

Is that a cog I see? Who’s the dark blade-wielding figure in the background? Is that a revolver and duster I see before me? Could that our first peek of our damaged protagonist?

I hope you’ll all agree when I say…



I’ll see you all in a couple of days for the next reveal…the title!


Thanks for reading!

Tools for writers: Do we need them?

So I’ve just got back from meeting with a couple of fellow writers. We descend on The Showroom in Sheffield now and again (we try to be more frequent but it never seems to work out that way) to talk about what we’re up to.

How’s that sequel coming along? How many days in a row have you procrastinated over shiny things on the internet? That kind of thing.

Today’s discussion mostly revolved around writing tools and technology. Pete and Christie are hardcore into their technology. They both use Scrivener, which is a writing tool that let’s you organise your manuscript with all manner of virtual post-its and bookmarks to make moving around your work easier. It sounds great. Anything that makes editing your own work easier is a surefire hit.

But, I don’t use it. For anyone who can remember my previous “planner or pantser” post, I don’t even plan that much.

I get an idea for a story, cook it in my head until it’s nice and brown, then hit the keyboard with nothing but the images in my head and a notebook, just in case.

It’s strange to think that we’re all striving toward the same thing. We all want to write stories. But we come at it from such diverse directions. And I don’t think any of them are wrong. My friends love their gadgets. I’m probably considered a minimalist. We all get the job done in our own way. So why am I so jealous of their ability to be organised? 😁

What’s your method? Let me know if I’m a complete literary mutant or not 😊
Thanks for reading

Not Before Bed…the return

Oh yes, it has been a long time in the making but it’s finally here. The short story collection which I put together and self published before Greaveburn was accepted by Inspired Quill has finally come home. IQ have graciously accepted to reprint the old warhorse of nightmaresthat is Not Before Bed. With new editing, amazing new cover and even some re-hashings and new endings for some of my old work, the beast is definitely back.

The inimitable Charley Hall has produced a creepy cover, and there is even an internal illustration inspired by NBB by Chloe Lisa. It looks pretty great, I have to admit. I’m very chuffed with it. Check out the Tour Deets page for where me and the new books (The Adventures of Alan Shaw is still doing the preliminary rounds), or follow my Facebook page to stay up to date.

Other than that, feast your eyes on this juicy cover art and await the release date on 15.12.14 (Just in time to darken your Christmas, Horror-fans).

NBB ebook cover


Thanks for reading!


Hi everyone, and welcome to the blog post I never thought I’d write.

Those of you who’ve been reading my blogs for a while now (even since the beginning?) will know exactly how long I’ve waited for this moment. It’s been a year and a half of hard work, trawling through the literary agencies online and off, making my submissions fit their precise and often wildly different criteria. The hardest part, as always, has been the waiting. Then there’s the mountain of rejection slips, most very nice, that came without fail every time. That’s a whole lot of envelopes and whole lot of stamps. I think I’ve kept Royal Mail in business all by myself! 🙂

But the time has come. The time when I can make this announcement. Something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a teenager, and working towards with bleeding fingers for the last five years.

Milking it? Me? Oh, ok. I’ll get to the point.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, after much searching and sweating, Craig Hallam (slipping to third person for effect) has found himself a publisher!


Yeah, you heard right. My debut novel, Greaveburn, has been read, liked and accepted to the loving embrace of Inspired Quill publishing house! I’ve put off writing this post for almost a week now, mostly because I’ve been making little squee noises in the back of my throat and wandering around dazed since I got the email. But now I think it’s time to share my fantastic news!

As I’m sure you can all imagine (writers and readers alike) I’m over the moon. I’ve had to choke it back a little, letting Laura do most of the celebrating on my behalf, and letting my professional self take the reins. I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself.  I’m trying not to think about who will be the first person to buy it. Nor my first bad review or (hopefully) my first good one. No signings or promotions ahead of me. I’m definitely not imagining what the cover will look like…although I could draw you a picture if you like 😀

It’s hard to stay in the moment but I’m doing ok. I want to enjoy this little nibblet of a win but don’t want to throw it around until there’s nothing left to play with. There’s a lot of work to do from here on in. Thinking about the first round of edits, for example, is making little brown cakes in my undercrackers. But it’s also going to be fun. And the IQ team all seem fantastic, so far. My alloted editor, Pete Stewart, is a Steampunk fan so Greaveburn will hopefully go down well.

Mini-celebration time!

Anyway, I thought you should all know, being true believers and wonderful supports throughout my struggle. When it eventually hits the shelves, shiny and awesome and without a single spelling mistake (unlike these posts), be assured that you’re all invited to the party and, by God, there’ll be hangovers the next day!


Thanks for reading!

A funny old week…

Oh yes, dear friends, it’s been a funny old week…fortnight…month…you get the idea. The Open University courses are keeping me tied up indefinitely. The day job has me rushed off my feet. And promoting Not Before Bed is taking up the rest of my time. Suffice to say I feel hog-tied and gagged at the minute. No wonder the blog has suffered and the WIP is screaming for attention.

The reactions to Not Before Bed have been fantastic (bar one review which had me hitting the bottle and weeping into my string vest) and to those who’ve taken the time to comment I owe a debt. They’ve been so good, in fact, that I’ve toyed with the idea of ordering 100 copies and selling signed editions (probably £5 each, I think). But therein lies a risk! Of course the money for the copies and delivery will be coming out of my own ragged pocket. The question I need to ask is humbling: Am I good enough that people will be interested in buying it?

And that leads me to a philosophical frame of mind. Can we, as writers in a digital age, really translate our online ‘successes’ (meagre ones in my case) to the physical realm? For all those wonderful people, from all over the globe, will my self-published book sell?

Don’t worry, this post is rhetorical, I’m not expecting hard answers. But it makes ya think, right?

And so, with that, my focus on traditional publishing has been reaffirmed (Although, I never truly wavered). Greaveburn needs a home, a publisher, a team behind it and a space on a shelf. Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s the reality and the necessity.
And so it has heen distributed again. This time to independent publishers, minus the agents’ intervention. I’m willing to skip the safety of representation and go for broke. Let’s hope the good stuff is to come. Let’s hope that if it does, I don’t get ripped off. Let’s hope you don’t cringe at the final cliche…

He who dares, wins!

Thanks for reading