The latest news, excerpts, thoughts and writings from A.J. Comley

“The war of swords is over. But the subtle war of power and politics – the war of wills – that is a different fight altogether. I will not play the docile, returning king, who retires to his gardens. I will be the invader who passes through the front gates to the sound of trumpets and thunderous applause.”

from The Stone Curtain

Welcome to my website. I am a writer currently studying a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. From a young age, I always took an interest in reading and writing, with a special love for fantasy – a genre which has defined my life in many ways. I also hold a high respect for ghost stories, horror, science fiction and historical fiction.

I first attempted the craft of writing at a very young age, with ‘Trek’, a delightful rip-off of the Myst game series, in addition to ‘Ion James’ (a misspelling of Ian), my own interpretation of James Bond. Suffice to say, I have improved since then.

On this website you will find a series of blogs covering my own writing in addition to my own thoughts on literature, films and music. This includes Prog.Gaming, a blog exploring one of my favorite gaming subgenres based around puzzles, exploration and the ideal of “Games as Art”.

Current Projects

The Stone Curtain is my first attempt at writing a full-length novel. It is the first installment of a fantasy series set in the fictional world of Norwölde, seen from the viewpoint of a young, idealistic princess, Rowen Thorne. When her father, the king, returns from a long, destructive war, he seeks to install the first parliament in the nation’s history. The kingdom lies in ruins. On the surface, the populace sing of victory, while beneath, many clamor for change. Facing resistance from within his court, the king attempts to force through the changes while contending with a growing conspiracy. Meanwhile, the princess finds herself forced into an unexpected flight into exile and must learn to navigate her way through a dangerous kingdom, while seeking lost secrets of magic.

At its heart, The Stone Curtain attempts a distinctly anti-war approach to a genre that often romanticizes such events. It is a timeless story of youthful self-discovery, set within a chaotic world of political machinations and dark histories. Strong influences include The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R Tolkien, Tolstoy’s wonderfully philosophical War and Peace, and the works of Brandon Sanderson, Mervyn Peake and far too many other fantasy authors to name.

The Stones Below

The Stones Below is a middle-grade science fiction/horror novel I am working on, set the 1990s in a fictional village in the Lake District.

When twelve-year-old Mark Owen moves to a new house in the area with his family, he finds himself stalked by a mysterious, faceless figure in the woods. As he tries to settle into his new school, he feels that something is not quite right about the village of Ridden-on-Mere and its healthy populace.

Mark and his new friends soon come to suspect that the answer lies buried below. But the solution to the mysterious events plaguing the village turns out to be even more terrifying than they could have imagined…

I have always felt that there is something inherently haunting about the English landscape and seemingly quiet, remote towns. The Stones Below is highly influenced in this sense by cult British rural horror such as The Wickerman and The Children of the Stones. The novel is also a homage to 90’s YA horror such as the Goosebumps and Point Horror series. In many ways, I see this work as a ‘British answer’ to Stranger Things.

Other Writings

During my MA studies, I took the opportunity to explore the horror genre, specifically the epistolary and short story format. This resulted in ‘The Priest’s Fingers’, a ghost story set within the real Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, which was highly influenced by a visit to a friend’s wedding. I also wrote ‘No Sleep’, a haunting narrative in the form of emails sent by a scholarly man who discovers an ancient relic washed up on a rocky cove on the Island of Eriskay.

Latest Blog Posts

More Music to Write By

Originally posted on Surrey New Writers Festival:
For my last blog I highlighted (for many of us) the importance of background music when writing or undertaking creative pursuits. And not just any kind of music – Music To Write By. For me, this always means the same thing: classical scores, soft piano music and film soundtracks. Essentially, anything without vocals which creates atmosphere and unlocks the imagination. But there is…

Music to Write by

Originally posted on Surrey New Writers Festival:
Each writer-in-the-making has their own method to spark creativity or break through procrastination, lack of motivation and writer’s block. Several bloggers from the Surrey New Writers Festival team have already written some great advice on this subject, so I thought I would explore my own take on this — the importance of background music. “Music has healing power. It has the ability to…

New Year, Past Inspirations

Originally posted on Surrey New Writers Festival:
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy. January is a curious month. December – perennially busy with the festive hype and excitement of Christmas – has faded away, leaving many with a mixture of feelings. There are those who revel in the fresh start, the first to embrace New Year’s resolutions and an energetic…

A Slight Re-write…

Hi all, just a quick update to let you know about a few changes to the blog. Originally, this was set up as Prog.Gaming, exploring my favorite subgenre in the gaming world. However, as many of you know, I also hold ambitions of becoming a published (or self-published) author one day and that my first installment in a fantasy series is nearing completion. I have therefore decided to re-vamp theContinue reading “A Slight Re-write…”

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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as external images, criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Alexander Comley reserves the right to be recognized as the author of all blog posts.

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