Release – Blackout: The Battle of Hell Ridge, Book One

After what feels like a lifetime, my next book, Blackout: The Battle of Hell Ridge, Book One, has been released on Amazon.

I wrote the bulk of this in the (Aussie) summer of 2021 and true to form, it sat there for most of 2021 after COVID-19 came back, left, came back, and so on. Initially, I outlined three books while we were camping and it was easy to get into the swing of what might happen during the end of the world while sitting amongst the trees by the river drinking coffee at dawn each morning. I had it ready to publish by mid-2022, but then I began talking to Aethon Books through Nicholas Sansbury Smith, and decided to let them release the three book series to help me reach more readers.

It has everyday folks battling to survive, friendships put to the test, betrayal, baddies we can all relate to, and a few surprises along the way. It’s set in the Aussie summer where temperatures can be extreme. If you liked the first Invasion of the Dead book, Aftermath, then I suspect this one is for you.

Here is the publisher’s blurb:

At the height of a scorching summer, multiple EMP attacks are launched against the world’s western allies.

Australia and the US are at the top of the hit list.

Planes fall from the sky. Cars crash through buildings. Power outages create desperation for food and water and people quickly succumb to the heat. The world crumbles faster than anybody can imagine.

Up at Hell Ridge outside a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne, Parker Richardson sits on the banks of the King Parrot Creek, ready for a quiet two-week camping trip. A much-needed escape after the death of his mother, separation from his long-time girlfriend, and the sudden loss of his best mate’s friendship.

But when his phone and truck go dark, Parker loses all contact with his friends and must make the long, hazardous walk down into the township to uncover what has happened. Along the way, he slowly discovers there is more to the situation than he first thought.

Without the essentials on which they have come to rely, Parker and his friends must overcome their relationship issues, then band together to avoid the perils of a town drowning in chaos and an invading enemy intent on taking everything they have ever known.

Can the local people overcome their differences and repel the invasion? Or will this be the first of many towns to fall across the country and the western world as we know it?

Don’t miss the start of the next action-packed post-apocalyptic EMP survival thriller from Owen Baillie, best-selling author of Invasion of the Dead. This disaster series is perfect for fans of Kyla Stone, A.G. Riddle, Bobby Akart, Jack Hunt, and Ryan Schow.

So here we are. I want to give a big thanks to Kim Richardson and Trevor Bacon for helping me get the story into shape again, and to the team at Aethon. The book is on Kindle, in paperback and on audio, available through Amazon and Audible. Book two will release on July 11th.


Book Four Updates

I’m happy to report the first draft of book four is done and heading into rewrites. I estimate it will be published early-mid April. I know I’m a shocker for missing my deadlines, but this time I’m on track and have been more focused than ever.

The book has a heap of new characters and a totally new location. It goes back to the beginning (before we pick up the characters in book 1) and explains a little of how things broke down. In fact, the tentative title is BREAKDOWN.

The idea of a new book might make some people happy, but book four doesn’t involve characters from books one to three.


I did post a warning about this in the afterword of book two, and it has always been my plan to converge two groups of characters for the final three books (seven-nine).

However, books four to six are integral to the final three books. I hope the idea of not reading about your favourites from books one to three does not put you off book four. Trust me, there the characters are different and engaging. All the characters have a place in the future of this world that you will enjoy as much as the old ones. Those that survive, anyway.

Here’s my problem…

Due to deadlines, I left book three (Escape) on a massive cliffhanger (bad me). I regret not concluding this and have received a lot of e-mails and quite a few reviews basically telling me in a nice way that such a conclusion was not very nice.

So now, the question is:

Do I finish the cliffhanger for book three and add it to the existing version, then notify all those who have purchased it to download the updated version for free? Amazon has a system that allows an author to do this. Anyone who has purchased it would then just get the same book with the last chapter added.

Or do I leave the cliffhanger to be concluded in book seven?

I really had not planned on taking so long to get book four done, but life got in the way (and a little story called Murder Inc.). Originally, I was going to add book three’s conclusion to the start of book four, but I feel I need to keep them separate.

Book seven would still be another twelve months away. Perhaps people have forgotten the end of book three now and it no longer matters.

I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think so hit me back with your thoughts and thanks for staying interested…



Working Away On…

While I wait for my editor to return Murder Inc. (expecting it any day now), I’m tapping away on two writing projects.

Many readers have inquired about book four from the Invasion of the Dead series, and I’m pleased to report the outline is coming along nicely.

The outline is a critical part of the book for me, and without it, the process of writing would take much longer. For many years I thought the only way to write a story was just to begin, with little idea where I was going and how to get there. This process may work for some, but I can’t seem to organize the thoughts in my head very well, and consequently I spent lots of time rewriting and throwing stuff out.

Now, I rough out ideas, character information, and a detailed scene by scene guide for the story. While it’s not perfect, and much of it can change, it gives me and plan of where I’m going and how I’ll get there. The first draft comes out fairly promptly, which for many, is the most difficult part. Then the rewrite begins, which can be both challenging and fun, but it’s the downhill slope for me.

I expected to release this book much earlier in the year, but due to several factors—including the growth and complexity of Murder Inc.—it hasn’t happened. I feel terrible about it and am trying to work out a way to repay readers in addition to publishing it as quickly as possible. Realistically, it won’t be done until the New Year, but I am intent on providing details as I progress to give those who are keen on it some hope.

The second project I’m writing is a horror short about a teenage boy seeking revenge in the aftermath of his father’s death. The story is inspired by a hidden reservoir near where I live and owes a debt to Robert R. McCammon’s 1988 classic short story, The Deep End. I plan to get this out before Christmas.

Once final edits are back for Murder Inc., I’ll give it a final touch up and then publish. Although it isn’t a post-apocalyptic zombie story, I’m hopeful readers of the IOTD series will give it a try.