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Visions of Madness

Artwork for The Calling - illustration by Bobby Mcglone

Today I’m giving you a sneak peek at some of the (pre-final) artwork for The Calling – a musical prequel to The Dark Horde


What you see isn’t the front cover (that’ll be revealed in due course!) but I love it. Bobby Mcglone, renowned Melbourne “heavy metal” artist, has done an amazing job I think, in capturing so many aspects of what The Calling is about: the final recording of Henry before the events in The Dark Horde begin.

 

 

I wrote about what The Calling project was in more detail HERE (where you’ll notice I’m talking about things for “2013” but let’s just pretend I said “2014” haha), and even better you can actually hear some of the music and narration from The Calling on the promo trailer that can be seen below:

 


 

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Coffin Hop Post 2: The Origin of The Dark Horde.

Coffin Hop 2013
A Unit, Timbertop 1989
Coffin Hop: Death by Drive-In Anthology

“Some things can lie dormant and hidden, festering for an apparent eternity, before eventually manifesting into reality… Such has certainly been the case with The Dark Horde!”

This is how I begin the acknowledgements section of my horror novel The Dark Horde, published for the first time in 2012. And it’s no exaggeration… It is with good reason that the book is set in 1989, for that is when I first began to write it.

A (dodgy) scan of my Dormitory photo from Timbertop, 1989

If I can pinpoint the beginnings of the story to a particular event, it was the writing of a short story for an English class exercise where our teacher, Russell Allthorpe (or “Mr. Allthorpe” as the students addressed him), asked us to write something on theme of “There’s something you should know about me.”

My writing has always inclined to horror, fantasy and science fiction in particular (even my first short story I wrote at the age of six or seven in 1980 or 1981 was horror!) and so I took that theme and created a horror short story. But what happened as a result of that story was unexpected. Mr. Allthorpe didn’t just give it top marks, he used my piece to set an English exercise on mood and pacing for the entire year. He cut my story up into individual paragraphs and set students an assignment where they had to work out the order that the paragraphs went in based on the building mood and tension. It was something of a revelation to me that my story should be considered an appropriate example for such an exercise, and began to foster in me a sense of self-belief that I was capable of writing fiction that others would respect and enjoy.

I present you now with this short story (unaltered save for typos). You may only catch the faintest glimpse of what would evolve into the story of The Dark Horde within this work, and indeed it wasn’t until 1991 that I actually began to write a novel under such a name, but nonetheless I still think it holds up *reasonably* well to this day… Well at least considering I was only fourteen at the time (and had yet to master certain concepts such as “less is more” and “show don’t tell”). Anyway, good enough to share I think, even if just for interest’s sake. J

 

The dark was cool, the air was sharp. All was fresh and crisp on a summer’s night. Two shadowy figures stood alone in the gloomy classroom. Only one would leave alive…

One of them spoke, “There’s something you should know about me,” he paused for a brief moment, gazing deeply into Mr. Allthorpe’s eyes and making his teacher feel a little unnerved, “Mr. Allthorpe.”

The taller of the two smiled and replied, “Oh yes, I know Andrew that you’ve got a little bit of an organisation problem and you need a little help.”

Andrew only grinned and took a step closer, shaking his head.

“You’re an asthmatic or… Or a loud snorer… You wet your bed at night perhaps?”

Andrew only answered with a firm no, shown by the movement of his head.

At this point Andrew shifted his iron gaze from Mr. Allthorpe and peered out through the panelled window. He stared for long moments at the mysterious, drifting clouds, as if anticipating something or waiting for something to happen.

“Is there anything wrong?” suggested Mr. Allthorpe, his lungs beginning to feel heavy and his hands slippery.

It grew darker.

“No, nothing wrong,” returned Andrew, his eyes once again firmly fixed on Mr. Allthorpe’s as if nothing on Earth could move them. Andrew took a further pace towards Mr. Allthorpe. Now only a mere metre and a half lay between them. The moon by now had half-appeared over the grey crest of one of the shimmering clouds…

“Please tell me,” Mr. Allthorpe said, almost begging. He was getting very anxious now.

The fluorescent moon, like a glowing dish, was unveiled. Andrew began to laugh a deep, mocking boom. Mr. Allthorpe’s eyes increased dramatically in size, opening up to the grisly horror that was now before him. His dry mouth opened up to a silent scream…

*               *               *

Crunch! Splat!

-Was all that could be heard from outside. Soon after, the classroom door was suddenly torn bodily off its metal hinges and a huge, hairy wolf bounded through it and away, out into the translucent moonlight…

 

 

As you (hopefully!) observed, I’ve gotten better at writing. But I see many of my tendencies, particularly when writing horror, in this early work. And more importantly I think, I kept going with it and eventually did publish my horror novel, even if it did take another twenty-four years! (But that’s a story I’ll elaborate on another time).

The Dark Horde has won a number of major international indie awards and the ebook version is currently available on Amazon for only $0.99 and the UK paperback version dis available (with free delivery) for only £2.99. 

As part of COFFIN HOP 2013, I am having a giveaway where you can win either one of three pdf copies of my horror novel The Dark Horde, or if you win the grand prize, I’ll mail you a signed copy of the paperback version completely free. (And if you already have a copy, I’ll send you a copy of my other published novel Evermore: An Introduction instead). The grand prize winner will also get a free t-shirt of The Dark Horde (if you want it that is - I only have a single L size one left).

Not only this, the grand prize winner will also win an ebook copy of the Coffin Hop Anthology DEATH BY DRIVE-IN featuring some of the best work of several of the Coffin Hop authors, released especially for this very event! (This competition ends when midnight strikes on Halloween - EST time in the US)

*** Click here to enter Brewin’s 2013 Coffin Hop Giveaway ***

 

The COFFIN HOP: DEATH BY DRIVE-IN anthology is available for sale here and the best part about this is that all profits will be donated to LitWorld.org to help encourage children’s literacy throughout the world. The COFFIN HOP store is also selling a range of COFFIN HOP merchandise and the proceeds of these sales too, are being donated to charity J

 

To coincide with this special event, I have also released a promo video for my forthcoming project The Calling, which is a musical prequel to The Dark Horde. You can view the video on You Tube HERE. 

Lastly don't forget that the full list of all the other awesome horror maestros taking part. Happy Hopping!

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The Calling - Promo Video

Watching

Waiting

Latent

Lurking

Can you hear...

 

Can you hear The Calling?

 

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The Dark Horde wins Global Ebook Award for Horror

Aussie Gold!

Winners are grinners J

 

Just received the news that The Dark Horde has just won the GOLD MEDAL for Horror in Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards!

 

So gotta be happy about that right? ;)

 

(Review and judges' commentary are forthcoming in the next couple of weeks or so...)

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The Dark Horde... Now for just a dollar!

Do you reckon you will?

 

So in my crazy scheme to kick the number of downloads along more, I've made The Dark Horde ebook available to download on Amazon for only $0.99! This won't be forever, so if you haven't got a copy yet you may wish to...

You're already here so you can read plenty about The Dark Horde by browsing the blog or by going to the Works page, but there's great page here put together by AskDavid.com HERE which neatly summarises everything you need to know; links, trailers, reviews, awards, it's got it all! :)

...That's all I wanted to say for today. But tomorrow I think? I'll be back to share some more big news (and not to do with The Dark Horde either) !

 

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(PRELIMINARY) POST-MORTEM OF A FIVE DAY SALE



It’s over…

The five day sale of The Dark Horde that is, where I had the ebook available free on Amazon.

It really is too early to draw much in the way of any conclusions from this (so why the hell am I doing this? you may ask), but I thought I’d share some observations and thoughts… It may be of use to others considering doing a similar thing, or otherwise be of interest to others J

The thing is, for me at least, promotion/marketing/getting attention is easily the hardest aspect of the “writing journey”. Writing itself can be challenging at times, even tedious, but ultimately it’s something I enjoy doing and am driven to do (and have always done, regardless of whether I shared it or not: it becomes its own reward in that sense). Editing and polishing a work tends to be harder to push through and get done as I’ve found: by the time you’ve gone over and over something a few times, you’re really not that excited about it anymore, so much as what you’re working on next. But it has to be done. Finding a publisher (whether that be a publisher in the traditional sense, or just someone to manage your self-publication) need not be as hard as you can make it: it depends on what your goals are (if your goal is simply to “get it out there” then it’s unbelievably easy to do this these days, scoring a publishing contract with one of the big publishing houses is a much more elusive goal). Finding a distributor is easy for ebooks (Amazon, Smashwords etc), and around the time of a paperback release, it’s not sooo hard to find a small distributor either (however if the book’s been out too long, or if you’re seeking a large distributor to get you into large bookstore chains, that’s harder). But all of these challenges to me are dwarfed by the challenge of getting publicity. And ultimately, publicity (which in turn affects how many sales and how much money you make) I think is all that really counts.

Perhaps I’m preaching to the converted by saying this, but the “best” written book (just like the “best” designed game, the “best” composed album or the “best” drawn artwork) really won’t do much; in terms of others experiencing it and your sales; if others don’t know about it in the first place. Conversely even mediocre works can be best-selling juggernauts with highly successful marketing: I for one, would put 50 Shades of Grey (which took years of constant marketing before it took off mind you) and Twilight in this category (although admittedly I haven’t read either of them, so I’m not really justified to say that). Meanwhile most awards (short of major international awards like the Booker prize) won’t really turn works into best-sellers. Yes they’ll help establish credibility and increase exposure, but the rest depends more on marketing/publicity than anything else I think. I tried to find a recent article I read in the Age on this about the (relatively small) impact on sales that comes from even winning the Miles Franklin award, but it’s eluded me. Suffice to say there’s plenty of articles out there about this (which I’ll skip for sake of brevity).

But to return to my own sale (yeah yeah I know that’s what this post is supposed to be about), my situation prior to this, with regards to my horror novel The Dark Horde could be summed up as thus:

  • On a whim to see what happened, I sent it off to the annual Writer’s Digest Competition for Self-Published works. The contest had over 3000 entries, and only two fiction categories: Literary Fiction and Genre Fiction. They gave my work a score of 92% and it was one of eight Honorable Mentions awarded in the Genre Fiction category. I also submitted a chapter on it to a short story competition around the same time (and then forgot I’d even entered) only to discover that it won. –After this success, I figured it was deemed good enough by others (as you never really know: your own judgements or that of friends and family is far too subjective) to merit entering in more competitions. So I entered a handful more and thus far have been a finalist in at least half of them J
  • Most reviews I’ve had commissioned (typically bloggers with no prior experience of me or my work) have raved about it, I mean like really raved about it. And even those who didn’t rave, still supported it and praised it for the quality of writing and horror.
  • Meanwhile I have boxes and boxes of the printed book sitting in a UK warehouse due to get pulped soon because they’re not selling: even after reducing the price to the lowest possible - £2.99 (with free delivery in the UK)

So I thought I’d try something else: A free sale on Amazon for five days, to see if that can make an impact. At the same time I contacted a bunch of blogger and promo sites to either do posts about the giveaway, or feature the book/me on their site. I also then spammed, I mean posted, a lot on Facebook (including various interest groups) and Twitter. Something had to work J

It’s hard to estimate exact numbers of downloads I got over the free period as a result, but my estimate (based on a tool to estimate sales based on overall Kindle rank) is somewhere in the range of 1000-1500 downloads. Within about 12 hours of the sale commencing, The Dark Horde had climbed to a rank of #6 in Horror (it might have got higher I dunno) and #17 in Thriller. It stayed in the top ten Horror for another day and a half, and got no lower than #26 in Horror (as far as I saw and I checked maybe thirty times) until the sale ended.

EDIT 18/06/2013: It turns out that I can get exact figures for the number of downloads, and not only that, I got about twice as many downloads as I'd estimated! (Not a bad mistake to make haha). The exact breakdown is as follows:

  • 2413 total downloads for the five days
  • Of these, 2224 came from Amazon.com (i.e. primarily the US, but also Australia)
  • 140 came from Amazon.co.uk (i.e. United Kingdom)
  • 26 came from Amazon.de (Germany: Wunderbar!)
  • 13 came from Amazon.ca (Canada)
  • 4 came from Amazon.co.jp (Japan)
  • 3 came from Amazon.in (India)
  • 2 came from Amazon.it (Italy)
  • 1 came from Amazon.es (Spain)

 

Is this good? Honestly I don’t really know, and I have no idea what impact will be on the longer term, but I do know that it’s gotten the work noticed by A LOT more people: aside from downloads, it’s seen it featured on a number of sites (and not just the ones I contacted), shared around Facebook and is still being constantly mentioned on Twitter right now. All that has to do something right? –And all up I maybe spent $200 total on marketing (I’ve spent thousands before for arguably less impact) and some of the best promotion I got here and here, was free or close to it.

(I should also add that there was a number of other great posts: here, here, herehereherehereherehere and here, all of which helped too of course)

So as Neil Gaiman would say, I’m really just “making this up as I go along” and seeing what works and what doesn’t… I don’t know how much my experiences will translate to someone else, as I think what works/doesn’t work for one person, doesn’t at all mean that the next person will have a similar experience: factors such as timing, the personalities of the people involved (including whether they personally like you/your work or not), your genre, “brand strategy” and luck all play a part… But I’m learning from my own experiences (and yes making mistakes) as I go along, to hopefully do better next time…

I think that’s what the “journey” is all about J

 

I’ll leave you with a “motivational speech” Neil Gaiman gave last year, that I only happened to stumble onto yesterday, that resonates very strongly with me (I made up my IT qualifications and bluffed my way through my interview to get my first job in IT fourteen years ago for instance; an industry I’ve worked in ever since), and I think serves as inspirational words of wisdom to anyone following the “creative path”:

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The Dark Horde FREE on Amazon June 10-14 2013


The Dark Horde by Brewin

It brings me great pleasure to announce that for the first time ever, my multiple award-winning horror/thriller The Dark Horde will be available FREE on Amazon for five days starting today and ending June 14th 2013!

If you’ve yet to get a copy or even hear of this book, now is the ideal time J

It’s only the ebook version that’s free during this time, but if you’re in or near the UK, you should also know that the paperback version is also currently on sale there for the ridiculously low price of £2.99! Why so cheap? Because if I can’t sell the remaining stock soon it’ll need to get pulped, so grab a copy while you still can as this madness cannot last!


 

So if you need any more reason to act now, here’s a few:

 

AWARDS

  • Indie Excellence Awards 2013 - Finalist (Horror)

 

  • Indie Excellence Awards 2013 - Finalist (Thriller)

 

  • Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards 2012 - Honorable Mention (Genre Fiction)

 

  • Coffin Hop Flash Fiction Contest 2012 – First Place

 

(Currently also finalist in the Global eBook Awards for Best Horror and Best Trailer, with winners scheduled to be announced August 2013)

 

CRITIC REVIEWS

The Dark Horde is a wild, foul-mouthed, bloody, creative, demented, scary, and hilarious thrill-ride of a horror novel.” – Writer’s Digest

 

“Horror tales often run the risk of following genre conventions too closely, but The Dark Horde has plenty of genuine surprises. Highly recommended!” – Indie Bookspot

 

“This book managed to hit me where it hurts at every single point. Not only was it just scary it was creepy and at certain points it made me feel uncomfortable ... Brewin shows extreme potential and I hope to read more of his work.” – Fiction Love

 

“The meticulous effort and detail that Brewin' has put into this book is outstanding on all fronts and is evident from start to finish.” – Metal Obsession 

 

BOOK TRAILER


 

 

AMAZON LINKS

 

Ebook 

 

Paperback (UK)

 

Paperback (US)

 

 

…And if you’d like to read an excerpt or the other reviews, it’s all listed for you HERE

 

 

Enjoy! (mwhuahahaha)

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Somethin's Brewin'!


...Actually over on another blog, rather than here ;)

Laura Thomas has been kind enough to interview me over at her fuonlyknew blog and host a giveaway! It may well be my biggest interview yet, and I talk about all sorts of things such as the history behind the writing of The Dark Horde (spanning over twenty years), the forthcoming musical based on it, and hints at some of the other things I've been working on. The contest (to win signed paperback copies of my award-winning horror novel) ends December 14th.

You can read the full article HERE.

                                                      

 

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(Brewin’s) Wrap-up of the Freeplay, Windhammer, Writer’s Digest and Coffin Hop Awards

Writer's Digest 20th Annual Self-Published Book Awards
Freeplay 2012 Independent Game Awards
2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction
Wrestling the Muse Horror Flash Fiction contest
You Know What ;)

I really should start entering more competitions: sometimes you win! Haha. I’ve only entered my writing into four competitions this year, and in the last week I’ve received the results for three of them and got the result of the fourth about six weeks ago… Winning awards in three out of four isn’t bad hey?

So whilst each of these could be a blog article in themselves (and for some already have) I’m going to try to pull it all together as concisely as possible so that I can quickly communicate a lot of things at once… Cos I’m kinda firing on a lot of guns at the moment and time’s not exactly in abundance ;)



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The Dark Horde - Complete Unreleased Prologue and Book Trailer


If you've been following this blog since I started writing it earlier this year, you may have read the complete (and unreleased) prologue to The Dark Horde before. Or possibly you have seen it in other forms over the years: maybe in one of the many printed manuscripts I've handed out or perhaps even you've heard some of the associated musical album, in one of its many unreleased versions.

-Whether this is your first or hundredth time, I invite you to read these words, to learn of the future, and to remember your past...

But first, here's a little taste of what's to come:

 

*                  *                  *

To read the rest of this post, and find out how you can enter to win up to $200 in Amazon GCs, 10 signed books, swag bags and more, check out Fiction Frolic, where 10 authors strive to raise 1,000 books for charity in 3 weeks, all in celebration of All Hallow's Read!

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The Dark Horde: The unreleased prologue...

The Calling Image 1
The Calling Image 2

Some readers have expressed an interest in knowing more of the back-story to The Dark Horde... If this is you, have a read of the complete prologue below that wasn't in the released book. Even if you haven't read the book yet, it's fine to read this prologue version if you want first...

 

                                         


I was once an avid believer in many things…

I believed in love, in compassion, in hope. I even believed in a God watching lovingly over us and that somewhere within the mystery of it all, there was a special place for us.

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