Monday, 10 March 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's me - and I'm a PATRON OF READING!

Yep, it's true. I'm a patron of reading. (For more info on this check out:

How awesome is THAT?

In fact, let's meditate on that notion a while...

I. Am. A. Patron. Of. Reading.

Of Norton Hill School, in Somerset ( And if you want to know what they had to say on the matter, follow them on twitter and check out their msgs:

Frankly, this is a massive deal. And I feel hugely privileged. To be given the chance to work alongside students and staff to promote reading? What's not to love?

Er ... Nothing.

On the day it was all made official, I spent my time with students just talking about books. And it was brilliant. I learned from them. I was inspired by them. And I wanted to help them read more, read wider, just READ.

I'm still reeling from it. Still stunned. Still humbled.

But a thought occurs to me. If we are readers, then surely we are all by default patrons of reading? It's up to us to show folk out there how important books are, stories are, words are. Because they are.

So here's a few ideas to help you promote reading:

1. Read. I'm serious: READ. Have a book on you. Carry it around with you. Let people see you with a book, holding it, reading it, loving it, wrestling with it.
2. Tweet about your books. Repeatedly. Tell people if it's good or bad. Ask what they think of it.
3. Read dangerously. You like crime? Why not read some horror? Like horror? Try a romance. Heard about a book that people think you shouldn't be allowed near? Get it, grab it, read it, devour it.
4. When you finish a book, don't put it on a shelf, leave it somewhere for someone to find. Like a pub table. Put a little note inside it from you to them. Tell them you hope they enjoy it. Include your twitter. Connect.
5. Visit the library. Not just to get another book out, but to meet other readers, chat with librarians.
6. Get involved with local schools. You could read with children, go talk about books, collect books for the library.
7. Invent the perfect sandwich to eat while reading. Go on! Then tell me what it is.
8. Take photos of your books in weird places: down a cave, up a chimney, inside the stomach of a dragon. Share these photos on Facebook, twitter. Ask other folk - where do you read yours?
9. Buy a dog and call it the name of your favourite book.
10. You know your fave independent bookshop? Buy them a cake.

Any more ideas, let me know.

Which reminds me of another idea...

Ebooks. No, they are not the devil. And no, they will not have us burning books in favour of only electronic ink. Buy them. Download free samples. Hell, why not publish your own book and get it up there? Like me, you could soon find yourself with readers all round the world. I know this because my Dead Trilogy is out in the US now. And you can even buy it well cheap for a limited time (if you're in the US that is). Don't believe me? Then click a link at the bottom of this and seeeeeeeeee...

So there you go. Patron of Reading. Me. WOW. Think of the fun I'm gonna have!


Dave 'Patron of Reading' Gatward

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Wot no zombies?

OK, I'll admit it: i'm not watching The Walking Dead. I caught a few of the first ones then dropped out. I've no doubt it's brilliant. I just couldn't be bothered with all the zombies.

When I was writing my Dead Trilogy, I wanted to make sure it wasn't zombies. I wanted my Dead to have an emotional drive, a need beyond that of "brains... BRAINS..."

So I kinda used the idea of purgatory, but twisted it. I wanted the Dead to be trapped between heaven and hell by their own thirst to live again. Then I found a quote by Mark Twain (a total genius):

"Pity is for the living, envy is for the dead."

And there I had it: ENVY!

Wow - what a nut kicker of an emotional drive! There's so much weight behind that word! It's got lust wrapped up in it. A single-minded-twisted-ness too.


And there they were, my Dead. No brainless brain-munching morons. But driven creatures who wanted to live, and would do anything to experience life again, even if for only a few moments.

I loved writing The Dead Trilogy. I'm really proud of it. And having it out now in the US is a proper honour.

And you know what? Something ace is happening right now...

We got ourselves a special promotion folks! The three books, starting with The Dead, are on Kindle Countdown. So you want to grab a copy for 99cents? Then click on the link below before the price goes back to normal again on March 1!

After that, The Dark comes in, ending on March 7, and then The Damned.

So get 'em while you can at a bargain basement price! Just click below and you're in!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The Killer Inside

Everyone gets angry. And I'm not just talking about cross enough to say a few naughty words and stomp up the stairs.

I'm taking rage. Full on, ripping doors off fury. The kind of anger that makes your stare powerful enough to melt through steel.

Know what I mean? Of course you do.

This anger can boil up from anything. Usually though, when it really lets fly, there's a build up. A gradual drip-drip-drip to something that you hold back, keep at bay, until suddenly - BOOM...

The repercussions can be terrifying, not just for you, but those around you. And if you're on your own? The doors get it. The chairs. Things get thrown. You yell and scream and ...

I've always found the horror genre utterly unafraid of dealing with anger. You get an action movie or a thriller, quite often the anger leads to something good happening, where the hero's loss of control causes the downfall of the bad guy and in the end, all things are good. And we're left thinking, hey that anger? That was worth it. That was necessary. And it felt gooooood. We find ourselves justifying the anger because of the good outcome, the hero saving the day.

It ain't always like that.

Anger and fury do not generally lead to good things happening. We get hurt, mentally and physically. Bad things happen. Really bad things. And if a story doesn't shy away from that, then I reckon it's all the more powerful.

Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes, evil wins, because that's just the way things turn out.

So next time you're watching or reading something where the hero gets angry and it all turns out right in the end, look back to the moment anger turned into something righteous. And flip it. Take it in another direction.

Explore the darker side of who and what we are.

That way we can learn from it.