My first visitor to the sett is Steve McHugh. His debut novel is called Crimes Against Magic, which he’s going to tell you about. He’s also posting a small excerpt to whet your collective whistles. So, you have a look at that while I just go for a shit in the woods; beetles for breakfast are never a good idea when you’re working. Also I need to get that cash back from Bear, you can guarantee he’ll be there – he’s as regular as clockwork! Schanffle you in a bit. Over to you Steve, tell us about Crimes Against Magic…

Crimes Against Magic is an action-packed, fantasy adventure that mixes the present day with flashbacks to fifteenth century France, in a story that sees Nate fighting against an enemy he can’t remember, but one who will stop at nothing to destroy the man he’s hated for millennia.

 

Prologue:

 

Soissons, France. 1414

Rumours of how the French had murdered their own people reached me long before I’d arrived at Soissons. Even as an Englishman, and despite the never-ending conflicts between our countries, I couldn’t accept that the French would do such a thing. But when I walked through the city’s open gates and saw the multitude of bodies lying side by side, I believed.

The town had been ripped asunder in an act of exceptional brutality, the inhabitants torn to pieces—men murdered as they defended their families, women brutalised and raped until their captors tired of them and left them to die. Not even children were spared, killed alongside their friends and families. The carrion took over, desecrating the remains even further. A city of a few thousand people, reduced to food for crows and rats.

It soon became apparent that there would be no survivors to the massacre. My search of the city only brought more dead, and even more questions, but few answers. Most had obvious sword and axe wounds, or heads crushed by hammer, but some had claw marks across the throat and torso. Something far worse than simple armed soldiers stalked the city.

I stopped by a partially eaten body. The man’s sword had fallen onto the path beside him. His stomach was covered in bite marks. Whatever had attacked him had devoured his internal organs. The bite marks could have belonged to a large wolf, but I knew I wasn’t going to be that lucky.

…I know it’s a gripping read, but you don’t have sticky arse fur do you! Just give me a minute in the duck pond to wash it out…Oh, right, okay, you’re back! Then we’ll begin.

So, Steve, Crimes against Magic sounds pretty cool, but what are you working on next? What can we expect from Steve McHugh in the future?

I’m currently working on the sequel to Crimes Against Magic – Born of Hatred. Which should be out within the next six months. I’m also working on the third book – With Silent Screams.

Excellent stuff! I suppose it’s nice to have future plans. I was going to be the first animal to win Britain’s Got Talent, until I was gazumped by that dog at the weekend. I’ll be speaking to my legal team, B.D.N Rowan just as soon as I’m done here. So, are you clever enough to come up with an anagram of a famous writer, Steve?

Not even slightly, I suck at anagrams.

Me too, although I do know a Carthorse who played in an Orchestra who was very good at them. Could you recommend a great TV programme that’s out now?

Archer. Everyone with a TV should watch the show. Funniest thing I’ve seen in years.

Cool! I’ll nip down to that Tudor cottage in the village – they leave the curtains open which is cool when the TV is on, but a little disturbing when they make their own entertainment. Talking of Tudor, what era would you have preferred to have been born in, and why?

I’m happy with this era. I don’t think writers were all that fondly thought off at most other points in history, and writing a 100k novel with a pen and paper or typewriter would be horrific.

Try writing with claws like mine! The Daleks have issues with writing too you know. Just thinking out loud here, but if you were to become the next Doctor Who, what would you wear?

An expensive tailored suit, because Dr Who has to look as sharp as possible.

I’d wear a nice white coat, just like my friend rabbit, which reminds me, is Alice really in Wonderland or just off her tits?

Utterly off her tits.

I thought so, I’ve been looking for that place for years. I even went as far as the river Thames in my search. Maybe you can help actually – Do you know how many times it takes to visit the jewellery quarter in London before you feel whole again?

I’m beginning to think you’ve been taking whatever Alice did.

Shush! Don’t alert the Pigs whatever you do! They’ve already been on to me for schnaffling their truffles, I don’t want to get done for the missing mushrooms too. Do you think birds can buy Human Custard?

That’s one of the more disturbing images in my head. I don’t think I want to know the answer.

Blimey, I was only asking! Anyway, here’s a question I’ll be asking everyone. What tune would you chose for the title track if your book were made into a movie?

I wasn’t really sure what to put here, but as Foo Fighters got a lot of play time as I was writing, it felt only right that I went with one of theirs. Foo Fighters – Times Like These

Love that track! You’re a hell of a dancer, Steve – what a great Tango that was. The Tango has a 4/4 meter I believe, which reminds me – what’s your favourite metaphor?

My favourite was one I read a while ago: He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

I ate a lame duck once with my cousin Brock, but it got a bit ugly when I suggested we split the bill. Who’s your favourite reader by the way? No pressure!

My wife. It’s not like I’m going to pick anyone else!

Wise choice! I would have chosen my wife, Belinda if she hadn’t…Oh, I’m just not going to go there I hardly know any of you and the wounds are still fresh. [badger sniffs]

Anyway, thanks for stopping by the sett, Steve, loving your work. Crimes Against Magic is a great debut. And I’m awarding you a peanut treat.

I’d love for you to stay and hang out, Steve, we could do loads of stuff together…it’s going to be great having you living in the sett. It’s far too big for me on my own ever since Belinda…Steve? Steve…?

[Outside the sett Steve does the Tango and disappears over the horizon whilst whistling to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird whilst back in the wood the sun sets on a lonely badger, licking the brown bits out of his fur]

Now Steve is as free as a bird, you can find out more about Crimes Against Magic and get in touch with him on-line at…

 Blog – Steve’s Blog

Twitter – Steve’s Tweets

Goodreads – Steve on Goodreads

Facebook – Steve on Facebook

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