New Author Website – Including a Free Book

author websiteI’m happy to announce the launch of my new author website, at phil-williams.co.uk. It’s a project I’ve been working on for the past month or so, putting all my novels in one place with a dedicated mailing list. Sign up there and you can receive a free copy of A Most Apocalyptic Christmas, my madcap dystopian adventure. Subscribers will also be the first to hear of (and receive) two new novellas I’ve got in the mix. Continue reading

Free Dystopian Novella – A Most Apocalyptic Christmas

dystopian novellaWhy not get into the real Christmas spirit with a post-apocalyptic action story? My new novella, A Most Apocalyptic Christmas, is a fast, frantic and violent ride through the Court of Chrimbo, a wasteland community that’s found all the wrong ways to embrace the holiday season.

Available now on Kindle and for free to members of my mailing list, it features fantastic cover art from Bob Wright (illustrator of The English Tenses and the wonderful Gun City Bohemian cover).

Get the novella here or pick it up for a pittance on Kindle.

A Most Apocalyptic Christmas

On the night before Christmas, mercenary Scullion’s ride home is ambushed halfway between the last surviving cities in America. Concerned only with getting drunk for the holiday, his attempts to abandon his fellow passengers to bandits lead him on a collision course with a barbaric community who have utterly distorted the seasonal spirit. This is one madcap night he cannot survive alone, challenging his perceptions of the meaning of Christmas.

A Most Apocalyptic Christmas is a near-future dystopian novella, set in a war-ravaged land where chaotic city states are all that are left of once powerful countries. Born fighters like the thug Scullion are the predominant survivors in this desolate world devoid of resources, comforts and hope.

This Faergrowe Free State novella takes place in the same world of the screenplay The Faergrowe Principle.

Read this novella free

A Most Apocalyptic Christmas is available at a nominal price on Amazon, or you can get it absolutely free in PDF form by joining my mailing list here.

A Lesson in Exposition from The Chrysalids

chrysalids john wyndhamI’d urge anyone who’s looking for an example of how to build a world without describing it to read this classic novel and take notes. I only recently read John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, a dystopian tale about a group of children in a world where deviations are being bred out of society. It’s not a long novel, at 200 pages, and that’s very much to its credit. Given the vastly different society the characters inhabit, and a world with a widely unexplained history, one of its many merits is a very limited use of exposition. Continue reading

Experience the Post-Apocalypse This Christmas

post apocalypse christmas ebookLooking for something different to read this Christmas period? Then get ready for A Most Apocalyptic Christmas – a post-apocalyptic novella in eBook format, available from December 8th. Based in the same dystopian world of The Faergrowe Principle, it’s a short, sharp adventure in the pulp-fiction style. And, because there’s already enough suffering in the world right now, I’m giving it away for free to my subscribers. Continue reading

The Resurrectionist by Jack O’Connell – Book Review

the resurrectionist jack o'connellSomewhat the opposite of The Land of Laughs, reading The Resurrectionist, as a contemporary fantasy from an author whose reputation preceded him, was an experience that quickly satisfied my expectations. The two books are very different in tone and theme but they’re well worth a comparison as both set out to essentially do the same thing – the goal of most contemporary fantasy – to merge the real and believable with the magical. Only this one does it well. Continue reading

“The Land of Laughs” by Jonathan Carroll

land of laughs jonathan carrollJonathan Carroll has developed an almost cult status as a slipstream author, and it was with his contemporary fantasy reputation in mind that I picked up a copy of The Land of Laughs, part of the Fantasy Masterworks collection. It had incredibly high praise from a number of reputable critics and authors, including Neil Gaiman, and comes with claims that if you’re new to Jonathan Carroll then his debut is a great place to start. Such build up can go two ways with a book; it can give it an advantage making you love it before you’ve even begun, or it can set you up for great disappointment. Continue reading

Asking “what” to aid effective character creation

what character creationAre you struggling to create focused characters in your writing? There’s a gem of advice in Syd Field’s classic screenwriting guide, Screenplay, that I feel is really worth dwelling on. It’s introduced mid-paragraph, almost an aside, but I think it’s something that can really help a lot of writers quickly and solidly create a character background. In its simplest form, the point is to ask what and not why when you’re exploring your character.
Continue reading

Love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico

love of seven dollsI chanced upon this book going through my mother’s old collection, and always being intrigued by something short and purportedly fantastical (with a context of carnivals, no less) I gave it a whirl. Not already being familiar with Paul Gallico, I was immediately impressed by the standard of writing and drawn into the enchanting (if now antiquated) world of Love of Seven Dolls – a tale of a suicidal girl finding a reason to go on through a puppet show with a life of its own, travelling across 1950s France. What follows, though, is a remarkable book that turns incredibly dark and does not fully (or in some cases even partly) resolve its negatives, yet somehow remains enchanting. Making it a pretty fascinating read. Continue reading

The Faergrowe Principle Wins Silver at 2015 AURA Screenwriter Awards

silver screenwriting awardThe 2015 AURA Screenwriter Award winners were announced on 1st January, which made for a pleasant New Year discovery to see my script, The Faergrowe Principle, received the Silver Award for Feature Screenplay. It was up against a large range of projects so it’s a great result.

The Faergrowe Principle is a screenplay I wrote mid-2015, a dystopian/sci-fi thriller with a grim tale of faded friendship. In a world that barely survived a global war, scientist Allison Heartridge searches for lost friend who helped develop the sustainable food supply society now survives on. With the help of a battle-weary mercenary, she follows the trail of the Church of the Ascension, a cult that had taken her friend in and had since been violently suppressed. The journey takes her beyond the comforts of New Oak City to the chaotic wastelands of Matterfoss, where she discovers a devastating connection between her missing friend, the Substance Engine they created together, and their mutual old flame, Laine Faergrowe – the leader of the free world.

The screenplay takes its rich backstory from an unpublished novel I wrote a few years ago, set years before the events of this feature. It’s a gritty future created by two super-powers that, in trying to kill each other, effectively damned themselves. A future that asks questions of what becomes of the leftovers in such a conflict; the footsoldiers who knew nothing but fighting, and the engineers who created both the instruments of destruction and survival. Beneath its grand setting are simple human stories – the relationships that keep people going, and the morality of survival.

Receiving an award for this screenplay now is a boon as it’s a project I’m still working to improve. The next step is to complete it’s next stage of edits and submit it to more festivals!

The parable of the man with an elephant’s head

elephant head storyI had what felt like a terribly profound dream the other night, concerning a couple who were walking in a valley as dusk was approaching. They had been out for a long time, and were growing tired, eager to get home before dark. The valley had steep, high sides, hedging them in, and their trail was chased by shadows. The woman started to grow anxious, convinced that someone was following them and that they should hurry. Looking back, they could both see that, for sure, a figure was walking behind them, a short distance away. The man brushed off her fears, though, saying that there were bound to be others enjoying such a beautiful walk; they had no right to believe this walk was meant just for them. Continue reading