Writer of Weird Fiction and Masher of Notes for the Broken-Hearted

Tag: A Smaller Hell

News Update

A quick round-up of latest news about the books:

The British Library

I’m pleased to announce that nearly all of my recent publications have now been requested by The British Library, GREY NOISE and THE KNIGHTS OF SNOWDONIA being the most recent.

SEPPUKU Launch

My latest collection of short stories was published in May and enjoyed some chart success upon release and promotion in the Occult and Psychology categories. Thanks to all who bought it.

THE HORSEMAN’S DREAM Reviews and Articles

Massive thanks to all my reviewers (even the mean ones). I appreciate you taking the time. Check out Ian D. Hall’s website Liverpool Sound and Vision for film, book and music reviews. I should also mention that Ian is an excellent author himself and his latest novel can be found here.

This article was featured in Heswall Magazine recently. Many thanks to the editor for including me.

THE HORSEMAN’S DREAM for Sale in Local Bookshops?

THD is currently under review for sale in a well-known local independent bookshop called Literally. Based in New Brighton, they run a brisk trade in all kinds of literature and seem keen to help out independent authors. Well worth a visit next time you’re up in NewBo.

New Book Trailers

Forthcoming Poetry Collection

MARSHMALLOWS is currently undergoing a final draft and should be released before the end of summer 2022.

THE HORSEMAN’S DREAM NFT Gallery

Polygonal digital art NFTs set in the world of The Horseman’s Dream. If you’d like to buy one as a collectible and help support the writing of my next book, make me an offer! Check them out here.

Upcoming Radio Interview

Looking forward to an interview with local station New Brighton Radio about the books and such in the next few weeks. Keep your dials tuned!

That’s All, Folks

That’s about it for book news. Thank you to those kind souls who have gone out of their way to leave me reviews. If you’ve read any of the books, but still not left a review, please don’t be shy. It helps me out as an independent author HUGELY. Hope you’re all enjoying the recent publications and that you have a wonderful weekend.
AJ X

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A Smaller Hell Now Available in Paperback

Pleased to announce that A Smaller Hell is now available in paperback format from Amazon. Mystery, Crime, Romance and Dark Comedy all wrapped up in 224 pages of literary mischief.

“AJ Reid’s ‘A Smaller Hell’ is a fable of our time.” – ***** KT Acolyte

“An electrifying piece of literature.” – ***** Whim

“The author takes you on a trip through the underworld and keeps the reader captivated throughout the book and wanting to learn more about the sordid secrets of Ms Doyle.” – ***** Iain Bennett

“A highly enjoyable tale with a bit of everything; love, crime, black humour and magic.” – *****

“A tale of love, hate, fear and deceit that truly captivates your imagination and drags you head first into a world where things are not always as they seem, a plot which has your heart racing as you eagerly turn page after page, unable to put the book down!” – ***** Richard Mortimore

“AJ Reid is a superb storyteller and this book had me gripped right up to Christmas. Would certainly recommend in the festive season and all year round for that matter!” – *****

“Beautifully written with rich imagery; the atmosphere is surreal but tense. Tony Black is in hiding and will take work wherever he can, even if he’s warned to stay away from Tanner’s Department Store over and over again. Tony soon begins to see how completely Ms Doyle controls her employees, and how cruelly she exploits them. She is the tyrant of Tanner’s, she has four police officers under her thumb, and she always gets what she wants … or else.” – ***** Susanna

 “Love story?  Psychological thriller?  You decide!  A page turner with some rather bizarre twists, but an extremely entertaining read. One truly comes to care about the characters within.” – ***** Shele S. Hobza

UK Readers:

US Readers:

Following on from A Smaller Hell paperback launch, be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming paperback versions of The Horseman’s Dream and Grey Noise. Also coming soon is a short story collection called Rare Exotic Breeds, modern Arthurian sci-fi/Adventure novel Knights of Snowdonia and poetry collection The Crystal Barrel.

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Social Distancing: A Smaller Hell?

Covid-19 has already wrought widespread panic. Now, we must acclimatise to the idea that we might all be spending lonely periods of time indoors. We want to protect our vulnerable loved ones and, according to experts, social distancing is one of the most effective methods of achieving that.

As a writer, I spend most of my time alone at a desk, working on nightmarish visions of the United Kingdom such as The Horseman’s Dream – a 20-year-long project about flooding, VIP child abuse, quarantine and most importantly, a sinister government using technology and propaganda in psychological/spiritual warfare against its people. So, for someone like me, social distancing is not such a stretch.

Don’t forget that all the stories, poetry, Interactive Fiction and music streaming is free with no sign-up required.

With regard to the current crisis, please make good decisions. Don’t take unnecessary risks. From the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone the best of luck, but that’s only half the battle. Be smart. Make your own luck. Let’s be paranoid now and laugh about it later, rather than glib and dead/unable to laugh about anything ever again.

One of my favourite sayings is that poetry will save us all. If you’ll allow me to expand this to Netflix and e-books, I think I might be on to something.

Bunker down. Read. Learn an instrument or a new language. Play music. Don’t panic or you’ll make bad decisions. Supply good information and clear advice to the elderly and vulnerable. Make sure they can contact you in an emergency.

Lastly, don’t, under any circumstances, trust our so-called leaders to keep you or your loved ones safe. Forget The Horseman’s Dream, this is The Objectivist Eugenicist’s Wet Dream, which is why we currently have the hashtag #BorisTheButcher trending on social media.

Take care, good people. X

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Who is Dianne Doyle?

Dianne Doyle is the antagonist of my novella A Smaller Hell: based on a department store manager I worked with.  She used to get kicks out of reprimanding staff and subverting our relationships.  A maestro of negativity, she’d often lure us into making mistakes, just so that she could degrade us.

The longer I worked there, the more intriguing she became.  She used the workplace hierarchy for her own ends, few of which were concerned with profit margins.

This, and certain other experiences led me to study psychology in a bid to demystify cruelty.  When writing A Smaller Hell, I took an example of a philanthropist in Joseph Williamson and summoned him in the founder of the department store: Commander Clarence Tanner.  The idea was to have Dianne Doyle be a personification of corporate psychopathy in contrast to Tanner’s long-standing philanthropist.

I find it creepy when people say something morally dubious is “good for the economy”, as if it were an idol we should worship. Tanner was the antithesis of that and the waning of his philosophy in the world scares me.

Dianne Doyle is the face that I’ve given to those fears: a mischievous authoritarian, whose greatest act of deception unfolds to reveal that:

“The Devil can sometimes do a very gentlemanly thing.” – Robert Louis StevensonFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

A Smaller Hell Free Giveaway

Download your free Kindle ebook between 5th-9th March 2015 here for US readers, and here for UK readers.  It’s a jolly jaunt about sex and violence, hierarchy and corruption, that sort of thing – all set in a department store in northern England.  Here’s what A Smaller Hell’s latest Amazon review said:

“Beautifully written with rich imagery; the atmosphere is surreal but tense. Tony Black is in hiding and will take work wherever he can, even if he’s warned to stay away from Tanner’s Department Store over and over again. Tony soon begins to see how completely Ms Doyle controls her employees, and how cruelly she exploits them. She is the tyrant of Tanner’s, she has four police officers under her thumb, and she always gets what she wants … or else.” – ***** SusannaFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Working in a Department Store

It wasn’t that bad.  My father often tells me about his father’s job as a steeplejack: that sounds bad.  At least I was indoors and not teetering hundreds of feet above the cold, hard ground.

Steeplejack_on_a_chimney_in_1960_arp

At the interview, I didn’t have a panic attack and smash up a waiting room as Tony Black does in A Smaller Hell.  Instead, I was sneered at by a snotty manager for ten minutes before she found out where I went to school and then it was all la-de-da-do-you-know-so-and-so.  I knew a few people and suddenly I was the perfect candidate.  Never once did she mention the exam grades I had sweated over, or the money I’d raised for charity, or my love of Satie, just the fact that it was lovely to have another Old Birkonian on board.  Jolly good show.

I was being welcomed into the inner sanctum of an institution.  The lethal polished floors and automatic doors; the toy guns; the sparkling jewellery displays; the luxurious waft of the perfume counters; the smell of the posh Rombout’s coffee and Welsh Rarebit in the cafe.  I was usually accompanied by my nan, who would take me there on the bus while my parents were at work.

At 6 years old, the Toy department was sacred ground, scented with erasers, bubblegum and gunpowder from the caps for the toy guns.  With the acquisition of a new toy, adventure inevitably followed.  At 10 years old, I became obsessed with writing equipment, and would often be shooed away from peering into the glowing glass cabinets.  By 16, I was Christmas shopping there with my first girlfriend.  We wore scarves and puffer jackets, and I remember her fingers feeling skinny even through her rainbow-coloured wool gloves.  She had long black hair, pale skin and green eyes.  Her fine cheekbones were always rouged by the cold weather and she shivered a lot in her rusty Nissan Micra with no heater, which made her look fragile and beautiful.

And so at 24, I found myself working in this castle of memories.  And like every good castle, it had a hierarchy within its walls – and like every good hierarchy, it had its tyrants, climbers and victims.  It was very much like returning to school.  Every morning, I would feel the polyester of my tie catch on the callouses of my left hand’s fingertips: a stark reminder that the dizzying heights of yesteryear – with its six-figure record deal offers, hotel rooms in Manhattan, yachts in Marina Del Rey, famous rock lawyers and all the rest of it – were long gone.  Every morning was soundtracked by a lonely drizzle and painted entirely in grey.

Nevertheless, every day, I tightened my polyester noose and bought my bus ticket.  Every day, The George and Dragon’s warm wafts of stale ale would greet me on the way in and out of work.  Every day, I would get told off for being late back in from my lunch break, even though it would be a matter of seconds.  Every day, I would fantasise about windmilling through the China and Crystal departments like someone on day release, just to see the look on my boss’ face.

Every day.Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

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