Countdown to a murder

Some of you may not know this, but March 21st 2017 is a very important date.

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Marketing And Creating That Killer Brand By New York-Based Consultant Theo Rand

Following the arson attack in Managua during the central American leg of Toten Herzen’s Malandanti world tour (unofficially retitled the Let the Insurance Cover It tour) Alien Noise brought in brand management consultant Theo Rand of New York firm Solid Gold to advise on damage limitation.

Alien Noise, in an uncharacteristic act of altruism, invited Rand to offer marketing and promotional advice to indie authors and this is what he had to say.

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There Will Be Blood

What’s in a name? Where do characters come from? Sometimes, the questions authors are asked are difficult to answer: ‘where did you get the idea from?’ is the perennial lump hammer of a question; virtually unanswerable.

But occasionally a question can be answered, and today I’ll tell you how I created Belarussian rock band There Will Be Blood.

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Extract From The One Rule of Magic

I promised to give y’all a sneak Halloween preview and I think this little episode sums up the dark and light and frivolity of The One Rule of Magic. The novel is out now, a Halloween release, and expect to see a couple of reviews in the future from a couple of stout yeomen who agreed to put aside some time for it. (If you want to review it after reading this, let me know; there’s a free voucher code for Smashwords to the swift footed amongst you.)

In this section, Frieda Schoenhofer, believed by her parents to be dead, is in Prague where she has met Tomas Druba, a ventriloquist who adds the voices to puppets created by his wife Natasha. With time to kill, Frieda finds herself in the puppet theatre and decides to use her magic for a bit of nocturnal entertainment…

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Coming Soon. (No, honestly, it is…)

Alien-Noise-cover-issue-1You may remember I said something about a newsletter, collecting emails and all that dodgy sounding nonsense. Well, who wants a poxy newsletter, all black and white with Arial font and wingdings and clip art, when you can have a f*** off full colour magazine.

Yes, magazine. Content for the first issue is pretty much sorted, but there might be a few last minute tweeks – as is the nature of high end coffee table magazine publishing, you understand.

People will still have to subscribe to it, but it’s free, it mixes the real world with my my own bent perception of it, and should be worth every penny you’re not being asked to pay for it.

When it’s published it’ll be available as a PDF to download or an online Issuu magazine with that colossal turning page special effect! (Which means you’ll need an online coffee table to put it on when your friends come round for drinks.)

Details on how to sign up will come later, but for now, there it is. The Alien Noise ‘newsletter.’ Subject to alterations. I had to bully myself to get it done.


Yet Another Author Invite

I’ve done this twice before and on both occasions been overwhelmed by the lack of response. All authors need help, a word in the internet’s ear and I don’t like taking without giving. In the past I have laid down a few rules, the intention being to give authors who write ‘outside the box’ a chance to get their work noticed. There obviously aren’t many authors writing outside the box, and I’m still not prepared to allow romances on a blog predominantly themed towards heavy rock, vampirism, black magic and weirdness!

But in spite of previous attempts I’m going to have another go…

Authors, would you like to have a feature here at The Opening Sentence?

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The keen eyed among you may have noticed a certain erratic quality to this blog. It ebbs and flows like a confused tide, sometimes engulfing the land with a quick succession of articles; sometimes it goes all Southport and retreats to the sea, leaving people wondering if they’ll ever see anything again.

I’m writing this in the Calf’s Head, a pub in the Lancashire village of Worston. I’m waiting for a cappucino to cool down and I’m absolutely filthy. I’ve been jetwashing the flagstones of a stately home all day and there’s a lot of damp blowback from a diesel powered jetwash.

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Hubble Bubble Double Trouble

You wait ages for a grown-up novel about black magic and two appear at once. Because of logistical issues too complicated to discuss here both Who Among Us… and The One Rule of Magic have been published simultaneously.

Who Among Us… is available now, The One Rule of Magic available for pre-order up to it’s release on Halloween.

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Blurb request – The One Rule of Magic

In a few weeks time I’ll be self-publishing another entry in the TotenUniverse. The One Rule of Magic is the first book in what I call the Reflections strand of novels following the new life of Bamberg witch Frieda Schoenhofer.

Frieda was first encountered in Who Among Us… (still doing the rounds with literary agents) and I thought she deserved her own series. And thanks to Au4 in Canada for the inspiration to get started on this novel.

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The TotenUniverse

No one knows the true barycentre of the TotenUniverse. The band are only part of a wider growing European conspiracy. You can now explore further details of this conspiracy and Alien Noise Corporation’s future plans and releases.

Click the image to see the TotenUniverse in detail. As universes go the image is quite large, and best viewed in landscape mode…

And you can learn more about the future plans for Alien Noise and the different story lines and strands here:

The TotenUniverse

There Will Be Blood – Extracts: Raven’s Dilemma

In the third Toten Herzen story Raven has lost her mate, Rob Wallet, and suffered a second setback when Susan Bekker does the dirty on her promise to turn Raven into a vampire. After a brief meeting with an Interpol investigator Raven lets off steam in a phone call to a friend back in Britain.

Raven is questioned by Interpol investigator Pierre Dremba…

“Why are you called Raven if you have blue hair?”

“Because the only bird I know with blue hair or blue feathers is a peacock, and I’d sound a bit stupid calling meself Peacock, wouldn’t I.”

“I suppose so. . . .”

“Rob told me about blue tits, but that’s even worse.”

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There Will Be Blood – Extracts: Bad News for Rob Wallet

A 1st draft abridged extract from the third Toten Herzen novel There Will Be Blood v.2 (The novel will be published at the end of Toten Herzen’s Malandanti world tour, some time in 2016.)

The band take a fateful decision…

For as long as Wallet had been with the band, he thought he had an ally in Rene. A foolish presumption. Rene always remained detached, mentally detached from discussion as if he were the band’s pet dog. TotenherzenDog.

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A 1st draft abridged extract from the third Toten Herzen novel There Will Be Blood v.2 (The novel will be published at the end of Toten Herzen’s Malandanti world tour, some time in 2016.)


Every time the main lights strafed the crowd Dee found a single member of the audience to focus on. In the sea of heads, the infinite pixellation of Rock in Rio, be it a man held aloft or a woman perched on a pair of shoulders, one individual received Dee’s exclusive attention.

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Apologies To Witches And Satanists

I feel terrible. I feel as if I have instigated a great wrong. When I wrote Toten Herzen Malandanti and Who Among Us… I portrayed witches and Satanists as violent criminals, hell bent on selfish pursuits and ‘removing’ anyone who got in their way. But the thing is, they’re not really like that.

My excuse is that there are bad apples in every religious barrel, and there’s no reason why witches and Satanists are any different and can’t be portrayed in literature as criminals and wrongdoers.

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Toten Herzen Malandanti Extract – Rose Pursey

It’s summer, the female solo artists are coming into bud and causing the usual huffing and puffing as they struggle to maintain their relevence. I thought it an appropriate time to unleash an extract from Toten Herzen Malandanti featuring their litigious US nemesis Rose Pursey. In Malandanti, Pursey is suing Dee Vancent for libel and in this scene her attorney has some news for her.


Some flowers grow quite happily in any soil, but roses require their roots to be firmly planted in a good deep layer of horseshit. And there was no shortage of rich humus as Clarke Rubenstein tip-toed into the Whitehouse Film Studio where Rose Pursey was filming her latest music video.

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If I Become A Wealthy Author…

I’ll open a call centre. Let’s face it, part of being a successful author is maintaining a relationship with your fans and if you have so many fans a simple newsletter just won’t do.

Contingency plans to cope with overwhelming success are necessary and the Alien Noise Corporation customer service will be second to none. The ANC Customer Care Charter will look something like this:

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Guest Author – Hilary Mortz

Now I’ve got a real treat for you this time. A writer who, if she started name dropping, would put Michael Parkinson to shame. In fact, to put me in the mood I’m gonna type up this interview whilst listening to Children of Bodom’s Hate Crew Deathroll. . . .

Say hello to Hilary Mortz, author of the Rockline novels.

Q: You’ve written two novels and you’re working on a third; what started you off on this writing/publishing road?

hm 08A: We got lost in the Derbyshire countryside on the way from a rock festival – a bit like Sid and Mel from Appetite For Corruption. We saw a small manor house in the middle of nowhere, it gave me the willies and started me thinking what if rock fans were lured away by other worldly parasites and their positive energy was stolen? What if all the rock disasters in the past hadn’t just randomly happened and were being orchestrated for someone else’s benefit? After that the floodgates opened and the world was my lobster.

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Origins of the Malandanti – update

Who were (are) the Malandanti? I came across them when I was researching witchcraft for the second Toten Herzen novel. To understand the Malandanti you must first learn about the Benandanti.


Benandanti means ‘good walkers’ (Benandante is the singular) and were a group of people from the Friuli region of northeastern Italy in the 16th Century. Their story is rare in that they were tried for heresy by the Inquisition, but survived. Their secret magic brought them to the attention of the Inquisition along with the charges of witchcraft, but when the trial judges heard what the Benandanti were doing they found themselves with a moral and religious dilemma.

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Who Among Us. . . illustrations

Three images produced to illustrate the three principle players in the novel Who Among Us. . .  Software is Photoshop and if there was time I’d post a tutorial, but I haven’t got time so unfortunately I won’t!

illust friedaFrieda Schoenhofer

“. . . . I didn’t do this.”

“Well who did?”

“Someone above the law.”

Frieda’s confrontation with Kriminalkommissar Tollmann happens outside Bamberg Cathedral with the body of Theo Wenders still nailed to the north door. The conversation and Frieda’s deflective answers illustrate her natural indifference, her untouchability.

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Toten Herzen at Eurovision?

Official statement from Alien Noise Corporation.

Rotterdam, March 9th

Toten Herzen will not be performing at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Austria. Reports that the band would be representing Azerbaijan are incorrect and malicious.

Susan Bekker, speaking from Sao Paulo where the band are on world tour, described the rumours as vicious and vindictive. “The whole rumour thing has got out of hand and we think we know where it’s coming from.”

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Raven Rants – boring books

raven-rantsA new regular feature in which Toten Herzen’s number one fangirl Raven (real name [REDACTED]) mouths off about everything and anything.

I hate my life. It was supposed to be exciting. I followed Toten Herzen across Rotterdam at three in the morning and it came to this. Boredom. Terminal boredom. And then Rob Wallet comes along with this crap idea to review books and they’re all boring!

‘It’ll keep you occupied when the band are on tour.’ Well, sorry Rob, but it doesn’t keep me occupied. I could be brewing tea, that would keep me occupied, so what?

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Who Among Us…

6 who among us v1

Allegedly based on real events, Who Among Us. . .  is the first part of the story behind the collapse and aftermath of a 400 year old network of covens operating in Europe since their origins in Wurzburg and Bamberg in the 1600s –

Disowned by her family and deranged by anger, Jennifer Enzo views the world as a demonic garden, a film script and a list of names to be assassinated. But when she finds her own name on the list she is forced out of her insular world to counter a sinister threat to her life.

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The Book Of Revelation

5 the book of revelation - v1

The final book of the Totenseries and all answers provided to explain Rob Wallet’s Toten phenomenon.

Finally, the answers to the mystery, for many the greatest hoax of the 21st century, revealed. Rob Wallet’s identity; Susan Bekker’s Big Lie; what really happened to Peter Miles; the fate of Raven; the significance of Elaine Daley’s tattoo and the true nature of the Malandanti.

The question so often asked, who are Toten Herzen, may finally be answered.


No publication date yet.

Behind The Wall

4 behind the wall - v1

Events take a dark twist in the fourth book of the Totenseries.

Builders break through the wall of a basement in a London house and discover the remains of four people: three women and a man. The link to Toten Herzen emerges when the house turns out to have belonged to the owner of the band’s original record label in the 1970s.

Could the bodies be those of the original members of Toten Herzen?


No publication date yet.