Born in County Durham, he joined the Royal Military Police and wrote stories in his spare time before retiring in 1980, when he became a full-time professional writer.
In the 1970s he added to Lovecraft's "Cthulhu Mythos" cycle of stories, including several tales and a novel featuring the character Titus Crow. Several of his early books were published by Arkham House, including The Caller of the Black (1971), Beneath the Moors (1974), and The Horror At Oakdeene and Others (1977).
Later works included his "Necroscope" series of novels, which produced spin-off series such as the Vampire World Trilogy, The Lost Years (parts 1 and 2), and the E-Branch trilogy. The central protagonist of the earlier Necroscope novels appears in the anthology Harry Keogh and Other Weird Heroes. The Necroscope saga closed with his novel The Touch.
He served as president of the Horror Writers Association from 1996 to 1997.
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1988 -- ArmadaCon I
- 1989 -- MC at Fantasycon XIV, British Fantasy Award
- 1990 -- ArmadaCon II
- 1991 -- MC at Fantasycon XIV
- 1993 -- ArmadaCon V
- 1994 -- Fantasycon XIX, Necon 14
- 1996 -- Toastmaster at World Fantasy Convention 1996
- 1997 -- NecronomiCon, 3rd Edition
- 1999 -- EerieCon 1
- 2003 -- World Fantasy Convention 2003
- 2004 -- EerieCon 6
- 2010 -- World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement
- Fear Fiction Awards
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