It's Not Yet Dark week!

I think it's fair to say that I have not been keeping this place very active, but I'm back, I've changed a few things around (see my swanky new Books and Other Writing sections? Yeah) and I'm getting back to posting. Most important of all - I have a new book out this week. Not Yet Dark has been a long time coming (sorry) but I am very excited about it, and can't wait for readers to get their hands on it. My publisher, Atom, have done a fantastic job on the cover, and as autumn creeps into the world, this strange little book's looking a lot more at home. First of all - here, have a look at THIS:

Nice, right? The artist's name is Rohan Daniel Eason and you can see more of his very good art at http://www.rohaneason.com. The back cover's just as good, I promise.

Here's the blurb:

'There are other places, Philippa. Other dreams and mirrors.'

15-year-olds Philippa and Danny have been best friends for years, but things are starting to change between them.
Danny has a new set of friends - the rugby boys - and suddenly whispers of 'Phil the Thrill' start to follow Philippa around school, and she knows exactly where those rumours started.
One evening, Philippa escapes to an abandoned seaside house to clear her head, but quickly discovers that she is far from alone. Not only has Danny secretly followed her, the two of them are about to witness something that will change their lives for ever.
A mysterious Society is meeting in the house to try to summon Death, and Danny and Philippa are caught up in their dark spell.
The pair manages to escape but they soon realise that they're being followed by two children who, as they begin to talk, claim to not be human. Where do these creatures really come from? And what is that they want?
What do they want? Well, I'm not going to tell you. The book's out in the UK this Thursday, October 5, and you can (pre)order it from many places by clicking on these links: Hive, Amazon, and Waterstones. It's always a strange time when a book - that's been in your head for so long - is finally out in the world for other people to have, but I'm thrilled it's happening, and feel very, very lucky right now.

It's going to be a strange week...



Great Books at Christmastime

A Very Short Post (I am still alive) to say that @GuyLucas01 recently shared this great snap of his Year 6's current reading. Look at those books - great reads, the lot of them, and thrilled to know Eren's out there, being read and shared and loved...


UKYACX Newcastle

Hello, all! I'll be taking part in this year's UKYAX celebration in Newcastle City Library, talking about books, reading, readers, and all things nice. It's a great chance to see some fantastic children's and YA authors - including this lot:

As part of the blog tour, I'm also over on Andrew Hall's blog, talking about stories and why we even bother to write them. Link HERE: http://thepewterwolf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/ukyacx-simon-p-clark.html

Other than that, things have been Very Busy and this site's got a bit neglected. Plans are in the works to change that...

Until next time,



The 1031 Story Challenge Is Back!

Happy October, one and all! The leaves are changing, pumpkin spice is a thing again, and - most exciting of all, of course - it's time for the annual 1031 Story Challenge!

What is it?

The clue's in the name. Every October, in time for Halloween, I challenge anyone who wants to take part to write a short story before the end of the month. There's no limit on genre, style, form, or even if it's actually a story. Artwork is welcome. Interpretative dance is strongly encouraged. 

1031 comes from the U.S.-style date for Halloween - 10.31.2015, this year. In the past stories have generally fallen into two camps: those that try to get in under 1,031 words (my preferred challenge) and those that incorporate the number 1,031 in any way they like. You're welcome to write whatever you want (keeping in mind that children may be reading the stories).

What happens to the stories?

Your stories are you own, and this is nothing but a fun way to get a group of writers together. There's no prize and no copyright claim. Usually I offer to publish the stories here on my blog, though you are also welcome to publish on your own site and send me a link to add to the others. 


For fun. For art. Because October's a great time to feel inspired and write a new story.

I'm in. What now?

Get crackin'. If you'd like me to put your story on this site, e-mail it to me at simonphilipclark[at]gmail.com. The challenge ends on October 31, though only in spirit. You can find me on twitter as @sipclark - and if you know someone who you think could take part, give them a poke.

I'm hoping this year's 1031 Story Challenge will be the best yet, but last year's is going to be hard to beat - Martin Stewart, who took part for the first time, ended up getting a book deal from Penguin based on his 1031 Story Challenge entry. He's set the bar pretty high...

Happy writing, all.

(If you're still confused, here's my story from a couple of years ago, The Choice of Stone, to give you a taster.)


Books and Blogging: Marketing Isn't Community

Starting new blog posts with an apology about how long it's been since I blogged has become a tradition here, but - yes, once again - I'm hoping to change that. When I started this site it was simply a way of reaching out into the world, sharing some opinions, and joining a community. It was a very different blog, and in retrospect I think it was a better place. During the last couple of years, it's morphed - slowly and without me really realising - from a place for talking to a place for advertising. I've started posting when I have news about my books and my stories - but, actually, that's not what I want this place to be. It's great fun to share new projects and new deals, and I know my publicist would tell me to shout about my books from the rooftops, but readers are more savvy than ever, and in a social media world, it doesn't take long for marketing-dressed-as-friendship to turn sour.

Mind you, as a writer, it's never easy to find the balance between hiding your work and earning a living. Part of the contract between my publishers and me (not the literal, legal contract, but the relationship in general) is that they pay for the book, and I help sell it. A reclusive author is all well and good, but hundreds of people have worked hard to get my books into the world, and you don't want to be childish when they ask you to help spread the news.

So - can I save this blog and turn it back into a place that's about writing and writers and readers and books, and not just about one particular book and one particular publication day? I hope so.

Here's one thing I'm looking forward to - in just over a week, I'm launching the 1031 Story Challenge for its third year. More on that to come (but the gist is easy: we all write short stories, and there's no prizes, and everyone's happy). For now, I will actually get back to writing, and leave you with some of the best books I've read lately.

A Series of Good Books in No Particular Order