A lifelong fan of supernatural horror and fantasy, Nick Stead spends his days prowling the darker side of fiction, often to the scream of heavy metal guitars and the purrs of his feline companions. Fate set him on the path of the writer at the tender age of fifteen. The journey has been much longer and harder than his teenage self ever anticipated, but seventeen years later he is still forging ahead.
It began July 2015. Nick Stead’s debut novel, Hybrid, was released under Wild Wolf Publishing – the first in his werewolf series. Books two and three came out in 2016 and 2017 respectively, and then he took a break from the series to work on other projects, and the beast went quiet. Now, October 2020, the beast strikes again. Huddersfield, West Yorkshire – October 2020 – Twisted Fate Publishing, a new, independent UK publisher, is delighted to announce the publication of two new titles from Huddersfield author Nick Stead: Ascension and Damned.
This series is not for the faint hearted. Stead went down the Darren Shan route of naming the character after himself, and it tells the tale of his murderous, alter-ego, beginning with the night he was bitten and turned into a werewolf at the tender age of fifteen. From that moment on, he is gripped by bestial instincts and uncontrollable rage. And it’s not just at full moon. His inner wolf seeks to gain control whenever there’s easy prey to be had, or a fight with a rival. Strong emotions call it forth and Nick must learn to keep them in check if he wishes to keep from hurting the ones he loves.But his carnivorous urges are not the only thing he must battle. A war rages in the shadows, and for the undead, time is running out.
Ascension is the first spin-off novella from the main series. It focuses on the vampire, Lady Sarah, delving deeper into her back story and the history of the Hybrid universe through a series of flashbacks, with some crossover with Vengeance (book 3 of the series), all from Lady Sarah’s point of view. So far in the main series she’s had the most sense of mystery around her, but this novella reveals a little more of the woman who started out a monarch and became a respected warrior among the undead races.
Damned is the fourth instalment in the Hybrid series and picks up right where Vengeance left off. Nick faces some of his greatest challenges yet as he seeks to flee the UK and find refuge in the vast stretches of wilderness overseas. From demons to Slayers, and the sheer power of nature itself, he must fight to reach the untamed wilds of Canada if he is ever to find a new life, away from his enemies.
The Hybrid series is available on Amazon for both Kindle and Kindle Unlimited, as well as in paperback format – http://mybook.to/DamnedNovel
Nick also had short stories published in various anthologies, and will soon be releasing his first non-Hybrid novel based on the true story of the Pendle witches. More information about the Hybrid series, the author, and his other works, can be found at www.nick-stead.co.uk
Below the lycanthropic expert himself takes us on an extensive tour through his Top 5 Werewolf movies:
Nick says: “It feels like this movie takes a while to get to the werewolf action compared to the others in my top five, but when we finally get to the scene where Bill’s bitten it’s worth the wait. The moment we see that flash of something wolfish and yet humanoid The Howling has my full attention, and my heart starts to beat a little faster with excitement, and that anticipation of what’s to come.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive fan of Eddie’s transformation. Don’t get me wrong, the effects are awesome for 1981 and it looks as awkward and painful as I’ve always imagined it should be for a body to go through such a drastic change in a relatively short space of time. And I like the way he rips his shirt open and his chest bulges and grows hairy. But the effects used on his face don’t quite do it for me, at least not to begin with. I think it’s just a little too much of the muscles spasms going on. That said, once he becomes more wolfish and his ears slide up his head and his muzzle begins to grow outwards, it looks a lot better.
I also love the way Bill’s first transformation (and Marsha’s first on screen one) is handled. The growth of their fangs and fur, and their eyes turning wolfish, and then the werewolf silhouettes – it works so well. And who doesn’t love a bit of steamy werewolf action by the campfire?!
There’s some good werewolf lore used in this story too. Historically, the full moon didn’t factor into werewolf transformations so it’s always nice to see 20th/21st century werewolves that can shapeshift whenever they want, and I like how they even consider it a gift. I also like the atmosphere of the misty woodland night scenes, with the howling echoing through the trees and the moon overhead. And there’s something awesome about Terri’s death scene, when Eddie lifts her off the floor and sinks his fangs into her neck. Love it!”
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Nick says: “I think it’s the fantasy fan in me that loves this one so much. From the very first scene in the vampire fortress, I’m given the sense that this is going to be epic. Then we get the scene of a werewolf crouched over baby Lucian and I know I’m in for a treat.
This is my favourite of the Underworld movies, mostly for the historical setting, but I also love the whole backstory around the lycans rising up against their vampire oppressors. I much prefer sword fights to gun fights so it was nice to see plenty of swordplay as well as all the werewolf action, rather than it being mostly a lot of shooting at each other like in the first Underworld movie.
The transformations are handled well and the werewolves are a good mix of wolf and man, though I prefer the more wolfish look of William’s bloodline to the beasts Lucian and his line become. But there’s something really cool about having Lucian turn in a cell full of humans so he can bite them all, and then trying to enslave them, only for them to break free. I really enjoyed the scene of Sonja on horseback as well, fleeing from those of William’s bloodline in the moonlit woods, and then the fight to protect the human guests a little later on. And the big battle at the end is just awesome!”
Nick says: “I love the opening to this movie, with the couple attacked in their tent. We get the sense of something bestial and a splash of blood, and already I have high hopes for the way this film’s going to go.
Cooper’s training in the woods is nicely done and helps with setting the tone of the movie, after that attack on the couple. I wasn’t happy at the pointless killing of the poor dog but at least Captain Ryan gets his comeuppance later on!
There’s something enchanting about the Scottish highlands – could there be any better setting for a werewolf story? The talk of the legends in the area is well done, and the tale of Eddie and his devil tattoo, just before the grisly surprise of the dead cow tossed into the soldiers’ camp. And then we get the sense of something hunting Captain Ryan and once again the movie has my full attention.
Dog Soldiers has a great build up to our first real look at the actual werewolves and when we finally get a clear view they don’t disappoint – we get another nice mix of wolf and human. My only real complaint is we don’t get to see a full transformation sequence, but there’s plenty of werewolf action and lots of nice gore effects – everything a werewolf nut needs from a movie!”
American Werewolf in London
Nick says: “We get off to a good start with the atmospheric beauty of the moors on a cloudy day, the howl of the wind audible in the background as Jack and David set out on that fateful trek. I’m looking at a scene that could be a number of places in Yorkshire (even though I know the filming was done in Wales), and my heart begins to beat with excitement.
The little village they come to also feels familiar, and the Slaughtered Lamb is no different to any other country pub I’ve been in, aside from the pentangle on the walls and the level of hostility amongst the locals. Jack and David are sent packing, the villagers start to allude to some terrible secret, a monstrous howl sounds, and I’m hooked.
Once David’s attacked and he starts to dream of running through the woods, I’m right there with him. Then we get to the moment of his first transformation.
To this day, I still think the transformation in AWIL is the best one out there. It pays so much attention to detail with the bones changing beneath the skin and the gradual growth of hair across David’s body. The final look of the fully transformed werewolf isn’t my favourite, but it’s the combination of that transformation scene and the story that does it for me.”
Nick says: “Okay, so this one’s not strictly what I consider to be a werewolf movie (I’d call it a movie that happens to have werewolves in), or horror for that matter, but these werewolves are still my all-time favourites, though my one complaint is that they need tails! I first saw it at the cinema when I’d have been sixteen, and right from the moment the grey furred werewolf bursts out of the woods, I knew this would be a movie I’d be watching again and again. Indeed, I loved it so much I had to catch it a second time at the cinema, and both times it left me on a real high which I can’t quite explain to people who aren’t werewolf nuts!
The transformation isn’t the best – I’m not a fan of the idea of werewolves ripping off their skin when they shift – but the werewolf design is just awesome, and it was really nice to see some
natural looking markings on the grey wolf’s face instead of the usual solid grey/brown/black/white we always get. I really wish more directors would go with a natural wolf look – if someone could take this further now and do a full natural looking wolf pelt on this kind of bipedal wolf-man design (and give them a tail!), I could die a happy man.
I know plenty of people slate this movie but I still find it enjoyable, even after nearly two decades since the original release, and I never get tired of it. But what really feeds into my werewolf fantasies is the build up to Van Helsing’s transformation towards the end.
I love the way we get the rage creeping in and his eyes turning briefly when he confronts Carl about Rome’s decision regarding Frankenstein’s creature, and the flash of his new nature after he leaps into Dracula’s castle, as if his inner wolf is trying to break free. And then the fight against Dracula once he’s shifted – it all feels so perfect, and it’s really that last part of the movie that left me feeling so alive at the end. The change being permanent after the first full moon is a good spin on things too. My only major complaint (besides the lack of tails!) is the cure used at the end – I would have liked to see Van Helsing granted control over his lupine side rather than being completely cured, which could have made for an awesome sequel!”
For more information about Nick, Hybrid, and other works visit: www.nick-stead.co.uk
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Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14138888.Nick_Stead
Amazon Author Central – http://author.to/nickstead