ICYMI: Dark Dozen interview at Uncomfortably Dark

In case you missed it… I spill the spooky beans about my new novel Greyfriars Reformatory, discuss the darkest movie I’ve ever watched, reveal what scares me, and chat all things horror over at Uncomfortably Dark.

read on for the interview

(scroll down just below the book review).

My thanks to Candace Nola for hosting & posting! When you’re done reading the interview & review, be sure to check out Candace’s debut novel Breach.

Guest Post: Catherine Cavendish – Damned by the Ancients

With only a week until Halloween, what better way to unwind than with some poltergeist activity? It’s my pleasure to welcome guest author Catherine Cavendish back to the blog today, who has such a tale to tell. And this prolific author has a new book out – Damned by the Ancients. Over to you for another haunting blog post, Cat…

The Poltergeist of Penny Lane

pic 1In my novel, Damned by the Ancients, the beautiful city of Vienna plays host to one of the deadliest of manifestations. Dr Emeryk Quintillus is pure evil personified, obsessed with his quest and prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants. He haunts his former home, the Villa Dürnstein, and incites the anger of the ancient gods he has hitherto striven to cultivate.

In real life, any property – domesticate, commercial, rich or poor can become the target of manifestations; some evil, others mischievous.

And then there are the others. The ones that become active, wax and then wane.

Such a phenomenon is reputed to be found at Number 44 Penny Lane, Liverpool. Before I go into detail, yes, this is thePenny Lane of Beatles fame. The lyrics mention a number of businesses that could be found there at the time but, perhaps understandably, did not mention the alleged goings on at number 44 which began to be witnessed during the First World War.

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But it may not have started there. During the 1890s, a number of witnesses reported seeing a white light surrounded by a blue aura, hovering over nearby Greenbank Road. This then moved to Penny Lane, glowing with an eerie luminescence. At the time, the vision was dismissed as a meteorological phenomenon. Yet, later that week horses, pulling an open landau, could not drag it up Penny Lane for a full half hour. Its wheels seemed to lock until suddenly they were released. Legends began to be created. Everything, it seemed, that went wrong locally could be blamed on The Witch of Penny Lane – even when the beer turned sour (in summer, with no refrigeration).

Fast forward then to the First World War and paranormal activity seems to have centred on Number 44. At this time, the building was a residential house but was unoccupied. Even so, a number of people reported hearing strange, loud noises, unexplained heavy footsteps and an unexplained voice all coming from the house. By 1930, the neighbours had to move out as the noises distressed them so much.

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Like so much of the city of Liverpool, Penny Lane suffered a heavy toll of bombing during World War Two. By 1945, the house had been converted into a shop, was damaged severely and did not reopen. But yet again, neighbours were complaining of the terrible, unearthly noises issuing forth from it.

1971 saw the shop renovated and reopened as a print shop – Xerolith. But the owners received complaint after complaint that their premises, quiet and perfectly normal by day, became a very different place at night. Police were summoned on a number of occasions but could find no cause for the disruption.

The owners, Ken Shackman and John Hampton, mounted their own investigation and discovered a long history of hauntings, including a reported sighting by a neighbour who remembered when, as a child, she had seen a young woman with blonde hair suddenly materialise in front of her. The apparition then proceeded to comb her hair before disappearing. This was not, apparently, the only time this young woman was seen. Her appearance, combing her hair at a window in Number 44, had previously been reported by a Mrs Hales in 1955. At the time, there was no such person living above the shop. Other local shoppers at around that time had reported seeing a similar figure, who vanished before their eyes.

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Shackman and Hampton were determined to solve the riddle of their haunted shop and, equipped with a tape recorder, mounted an all-night vigil. Things started off quietly enough until suddenly banging and shuffling started up and the walls shook. All of these sounds were recorded on tape.

The ghosts have grown quiet over recent years and the shop is now a Lettings Agency. But, as history tells us, simply because they are slumbering now doesn’t mean they won’t reawaken…

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Unfortunately for the Mortimer family, that is exactly what is about to happen. Here’s what to expect from Damned by the Ancients:

INFINITY IN DEATH

Vienna, 1908

Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archaeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .

Vienna, 2018

The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.

Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child
. . .

Damned by the Ancients is available from:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple

Google

Kobo

Kensington Publishing

About the author:

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Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, andThe Second Wife

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

 Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Read ‘The Daniel Gates Adventures, Vol. 1’ at the special offer price of $1.29 / £0.99 — offer ends soon! #occulthorror #kindle #nook #ebook

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To celebrate the release of The Daniel Gates Adventures, Vol. 2: The Lilyth Mirror and The Lucifer Gate, publisher Crossroad Press has reduced the price of The Daniel Gates Adventures, Vol. 1: The Lucifer Glass and The Leper Window for a limited time.

The first volume contains the occult horror novellas The Lucifer Glass and The Leper Window, which introduce the character of Daniel Gates and are described as “utterly chilling” by Horror Underground, and “a page turner” by Brutal As Hell.

Grab a copy now from:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Crossroad Press

Smashwords

— be quick, the offer ends soon!

The Daniel Gates Adventures, Vol. 2 – cover reveal

This week sees the publication of The Daniel Gates Adventures, Volume 2; containing the brand new, never before published occult horror novellas The Lilyth Mirror and The Lucifer Gate.

Feast your eyes on the full cover reveal:

(Hope it gives you pleasant nightmares)

More details about the book very soon!

And if you want to catch up on Daniel Gates’ adventures so far, you can find his first two escapades The Lucifer Glass and The Leper Window here.

Volumes 1 & 2 of the Daniel Gates Adventures are published by Macabre Ink, an imprint of Crossroad Press.

Translation rights are repped by literary agent Betty Anne Crawford of Books Crossing Borders, NY.

Guest author Catherine Cavendish: ‘If You Go Down to the (Screaming) Woods Today…’

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…You had better be prepared to experience more than you bargained for. Especially if the woods in question are in the vicinity of the Kent village of Pluckley. Properly known as Dering Woods, this forest is more commonly known as the Screaming Woods – and for very good reason.

The area itself is situated just south of England’s (arguably) most haunted village – Pluckley – where it seems almost every building and piece of land has its own ghost story to tell. Pinnock Bridge has its Gypsy or Watercress Woman who is supposed to have set herself on fire from a combination of the pipe she was smoking and the gin she was drinking at the same time. She wafts around as a misty figure.

The Elvey Farm has a haunted dairy where an 18thcentury farmer – Edward Brett – fatally shot himself. He is still heard, muttering ‘I will do it.’

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A black silhouette of a miller haunts the site of an old windmill, while a red lady walks her small white dog around the churchyard and a white lady wanders around inside the same church. The locals at the time of her death must have really feared her. She was buried inside not one, but sevencoffins AND an oak sarcophagus. She’s still pacing around there though!

An unfortunate love affair led to the suicide (by poisoning) of the Lady of Rose Court, and a poor man who fell into a clay pit still screams in agony. A schoolmaster who hanged himself is still apparently trapped at the site of his demise.

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Now, after experiencing all that, you could well be forgiven for deciding to retire to the local hostelry (the Black Horse Inn). Surely here you could kick back and relax over a pint of foaming ale or a glass of comforting wine? Not a bit of it! After the phantom coach and horses have thundered by outside, expect things to start flying around you as the resident poltergeist gets to work.

But I digress. Back to the woods.

In the 18thcentury, a highwayman called Robert du Bois was tracked down and run through with a sword while he hid in a tree in these very woods. Another version states that he was dragged to the woods before being lynched. Either way, his are the screams which give the woods their name – along with a couple of other unfortunates, such as the army colonel who hanged himself and still can be seen dangling from his tree, and the ghostly soldier who wanders the woodland paths. Others who have simply lost their way – and never found it again – add their desperate voices to the cacophony from beyond the grave.

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Sceptics might say it’s just foxes. Everyone knows foxes can make a terrible racket. As if hell itself had opened and let the screams of the damned escape.

But those of us who know about such things, don’t need any such explanations.

Do we?

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There are plenty of sinister goings-on – and a terrifying some demon – in my novella, The Devil Inside Her. This is what to expect:

When nightmares become dreams, someone must die

Haunted by the death of her husband and only child, Elinor Gentry’s recurring nightmares have left her exhausted. She’s crippled by debt, and only the remnants of her former life surround her, things she can’t bear to sell, and wouldn’t make much profit from if she did. Then, for no apparent reason, the nightmares transform into pleasant dreams. Dreams that lead her to take back control of her life.

A string of horrific and unexplained suicides–and an unnerving discovery about Elinor herself—lead her best friend to seek help from the one person who has seen all this before, and things begin to spiral out of control. Hazel Messinger knows that Elinor’s newly found wellbeing is not what it seems, and Hazel’s not about to let the demon inside remain there permanently.

You can buy The Devil Inside Her here;

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

About the author

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Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy– Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plusThe Devil’s Serenade,The Pendle Curseand Saving Grace Devine.

Her novellas, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, The Devil Inside Her, andThe Second Wifehave now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.

She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

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Thanks to Catherine Cavendish for another wonderful guest blog post!
Be sure to read her books, and connect with her on social media.

The Daniel Gates Adventures, Vol. 1 – cover reveal

The first two novellas in my Daniel Gates Adventures occult series are back in ebook from Crossroad Press very, very soon.

Check out the new cover art for The Lucifer Glass & The Leper Window – together in one volume for the first time.

More details soon!

#TheStayMovie wins Best Short Film Award at Changing Face International Film Festival!

It’s my very great honour to announce that THE STAY picked up the Best Short  Film (Sci-Fi) Award at the Changing Face International Film Festival 2017 (Sydney, Australia).

TheStayBestShortCFIFF

See all the Winners and Finalists here.

A huge thank you to the Festival organisers from the cast & crew of THE STAY!

Watch THE STAY on Amazon VOD here.

News-splash! ‘The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water – The Gargantuan book of Horror Tales’ is out now in ebook

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Released today in ebook (with a paperback edition to follow soon) The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death By Water is a gargantuan book of horror tales, boasting stories from Clive Barker,‎ Ramsey Campbell,‎ Caitlìn R. Kiernan,‎ Peter Straub,‎ and many more (including yours truly).

About the book: In each of these stories from some of greatest writers of horror and dark fiction, water plays the dual role of accomplice and executioner. With accidental drownings, irresistible calls of sirens from the deep, strange whisperings from household plumbing, faces of the dead in droplets of water, rabid fish, leviathan monsters, and more, these thirty-nine tales of death by water will make you think twice about taking that long-awaited cruise, going for a midnight swim, or taking your next shower.

Stories by: Joanna Parypinski, Lucy Taylor, Dona Fox, Eric J. Guignard, Lucy Snyder, Stephen Gregory, Daniel Braum, Simon Bestwick, Peter Straub, Lisa Mannetti, Daniele Bonfanti, Ramsey Campbell, Gregory L. Norris, Michael Bailey, Marge Simon, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Frazer Lee, Paolo Di Orazio, Dennis Etchison, John Palisano, Brian Evenson, Michael Hanson, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Gene O’Neill, Jonah Buck, David J. Schow, Anthony Watson, Bruce Boston, Michael A. Arnzen, Adam Nevill, John Langan, Alessandro Manzetti, Clive Barker, Lisa Morton, Jodi Renée Lester, Jeremy Megargee, Nicola Lombardi, Adam Millard.

Edited by: Alessandro Manzetti & Jodi Renée Lester

Grab your copy from Amazon

UK readers, follow this link

Sweet dreams… (or Wet nightmares!)

TBOD2front

An Audience With Guest Author Stuart R. West

13608075_10208533000220126_1487223109_nI’m delighted to welcome guest author Stuart R. West to the blog today.

With superb comic timing, Stuart published his wicked novel Demon With A Comb-Over via Samhain Publishing – just as they announced they were winding down their business. But the killer punchline is all Stuart’s as he has many other exciting books for you to read, with more on the way.

Read on to learn more!

Hi Stuart, thanks for dropping by at my blog today.

SRW: Thanks for having me, Frazer! Freezy, Frazey Leezy! You like your hip-hop name? No?

I’ll stick with Lazer Free, thanks! Now – your novel Demon With a Comb-Over is a wicked blend of horror and humour. What made you settle on this hybrid genre for your book?

SRW: Frazer, it didn’t start that way. Originally, it was gonna be a straight-up horror book. But I thought, “Hey, what if the setting, the weird characters, all of that, lean toward comedy?” Seemed kinda like a no-brainer to me. Of course, some readers have thought it’s not funny. Humor’s subjective. Bring to it what you will.

The horror in the book ranges from subtle atmospheric creeps to full on guts-out (quite literally) visceral mayhem. How did you achieve the balance with this when you were writing?

13649674_10208533003540209_707351052_nSRW: I hope I did achieve it. There’s subtlety, than there’s full-on horror. Personally, I like a mixture of both. But I couldn’t write a trip to Hell without getting all up in everyone’s faces. Actually, there’re two detailed trips to the netherworlds. Readers seem to be mixed: some like the grue, others are all about the comedy. Then there are the ’hatahs. Can’t please everyone.

Charlie is a living, breathing and completely engaging protagonist, I think because he’s flawed and therefore believable. How did you dream him up and were there any real-world influences when developing his character?

SRW: Charlie’s actually me. Duh, Frazer, duh. All the foibles, the mistakes he makes, the pseudo-crimes her performs against humanity? All me. I’m putting it all out there. Don’t judge me!

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I’m guessing that you are no stranger to the world of stand-up comedy. The book shows your deep knowledge of that world to great effect. Care to share any road stories? Any particularly horrific heckles?

SRW: Right you are, my friend! Actually, I only performed stand-up twice. The first time was in college. I made everything up on the go. Thing is I had a built-in audience of about 20 people—my entourage from school—following me. So they laughed. Alcohol helped. The second time? Alcohol didn’t help. I went to an open-mike night at a club, thinking I could wing it again. Didn’t work so well. Crickets didn’t even begin to explain the response. Glad I got out alive.

This is also a wild guess, but a very strong element of Comb-over is the relationship between Charlie and his daughter. Reading it, I felt sure you must not only be a parent, but father to a daughter? If so, was this helpful to you when exploring the horror of Serena being threatened in the way that she is (by a vengeance crazed demon!)?

13624559_10208533015700513_2145899622_nSRW: Very astute, Frazer. Yep, I’m a father. My daughter’s now 24, but I pretty much raised her on my own. Well, that’s not true exactly; my ex was cool enough to give me 50-50 rights. But, yeah, it’s based on truth. I hope my ex never reads this post (she won’t, right?), but a lot of it is based on her – true down to the reliance of therapy, the accusations, the constant aggravation. She even told me once, “I checked over our daughter; I cleared you of abuse.” WHAT? Damn.

Another part of the novel that I enjoyed immensely was the use of the chapter headings based around the ‘rules of comedy’. “Put your fantasies out there. It makes you more relatable,” was one that stood out in particular. Care to expand on that one in the context of your writing?

SRW: Fantasies? No, that’s up to everyone else. It does seem like a lotta stand-up comedians dwell on fantasies. I believe part of the secret of comedy is making yourself relatable, saying crap everyone wants to, but doesn’t have the guts to. But the chapter headings I kinda made up. Sorry. My research assistant, “Ms. Google,” helped me with the rest.13643771_10208533016740539_1147014760_n

Those chapter headings really help support the structure of the story and the thematic content of each part, and the whole. Did you work to an outline based around those headings? Or did you go with the flow and discover this later?

SRW: I’m sorry to say the headings kinda came as an after-thought. No way, Frazer, am I that smart. Just seemed right as I plowed along.

Following on from the ‘Rules of Stand-up’, what do you believe to be the core rules of writing Horror?

SRW: Make your characters human, relatable. Then toss ‘em into hellish visions. Without characters people can empathize with, a tale would be like a tossed-off nightmare, barely remembered.

13644257_10208533022500683_74075230_nAside from a liberal sprinkling of salt around your bed each night (readers – check out Stuart’s novel for more about this!) what’s next for Stuart R. West?

SRW: Glad you asked, Frazer! I have an upcoming darkly comical novel from Grinning Skull Press called Dread & Breakfast. I’m working on the third and final book in my darkly humorous (I’m detecting a theme here) serial killer thriller series, Killers Incorporated. There’s a sequel on the way to my comedic mystery series, Bad Day in a Banana Hammock, about a vapid male stripper who keeps turning up dead bodies. The prequel to Demon with a Comb-Over, The Book of Kobal (a very dark, immoral, irreverent tale), is hunting for a new home since the original publisher, Samhain, is pretty much dead to horror. Hey! I have a children’s picture book coming out (dunno when) from Guardian Angel Press. I’d like to write a Lovecraftian/Cronenbergian horror tale about a genetic dairy farmer but it’s kinda a hard sell. Finally, up next will be a nostalgic ’60s set, Midwestern ghost tale.

Sounds like a great, diverse line-up! Thanks again for dropping by Mr. West!

SRW: Thanks for putting up with me, Frazer.13624723_10208533022940694_547791730_n

Demon with a Comb-Over available at Amazon.

Stuart R. West Amazon Page.

Blog: Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley

Stuart R. West Facebook

Twitter: @StuartRWest

 

Panic Button: Horror Channel UK TV network premiere


Panic Button, the acclaimed horror/thriller feature film I co-wrote with John Shackleton, David Shillitoe & Chris Crow, gets its UK network telly premiere this Friday 15th January at 22:45.

Watch it on Sky channel 319, Virgin TV channel 149, Freeview channel 70 and Freesat channel 138.

And for more social networking scares read Panic Button – The Official Movie Novelisation by yours truly!

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Praise for ‘Panic Button’ – the novel:

“A chilling commentary on the modern phenomenon of social media…I highly recommend reading this book, after which you really should go and see the film as well” (Jim McLeod, Ginger Nuts of Horror)

“More than competes with anything the creators of the original Saw could dream up” (Hellnotes)

“Frazer Lee explores the real dangers of putting our lives online and, through his characters, shows the real-life consequences of cyber-bullying, privacy, identity theft and the dangers of hiding behind the internet” (Malysa Stratton Louk, Digital Journal)

This is an intelligent and propulsive book, pressing all the right buttons – panic or otherwise – as a standalone piece of fiction even if you’ve not seen the movie version” (Paul Mount, Starburst Magazine)

Praise for Panic Button: The Movie

“The best British horror in years” ☆☆☆☆ (Adam Stephen Kelly, Ain’t It Cool News)

“The Social Network of Shocks” ☆☆☆☆ (Alan Jones, Film4 Frightfest)

“This is British horror at its bloody best” ☆☆☆☆ (Sky Movies)

“Nail-bitingly terrifying” ☆☆☆☆☆ (Abertoir Film Festival)