Friday, 13 February 2015

The Grimorium Verum is Unleashed

T'is Friday the thirteenth and darkness is spreading. Oozing through the cracks in your soul, its febrile fingers are teasing, touching and tearing at your skin, driving you wild.

And all because today's the day.

THE GRIMORIUM VERUM has finally been released.

Packed with terror, these 26 stories are written by some of the best horror writers around, and as the final volume in the TRES LIBRORUM PROHIBITORUM, it was of course, edited by Dean M. Drinkel. You can read the Table of Contents over at the publisher's website: Western Legends Publishing.

JIMSON JANE: SEITHR

The Grimorium Verum, or the Grimoire of Truth, was the 18th century textbook of magic attributed to Alibeck the Egyptian and coveted by ‘The Great Beast’ Aleister Crowley for use in his Magick ceremonies.

My own tale, J is for JIMSON JANE: SEITHR follows a pair of Victorian quacks escaping from the law in England to... not exactly find their fortune in America, rather scam as many people as they can whilst procuring new ingredients for their patented cures, tonics and restorative draughts. In their travels they hear about the mysterious healer Jimson Jane. In an obsessive search for Jane, for her methods and pharmacopeia they are introduced to rites and remedies as old as the land itself. But knowledge does not come without a price. And neither does life.

BUY THE GRIMORIUM VERUM

Amazon US
CreateSpace eStore
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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Book Review: An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman

The promise of a sparkling new life for Kim Newman's 'dysfunctional British nuclear family' lures the reader in with teases as to what has led the Naremores to occupy The Hollow - far away from the troubles and influences of their past.

I'm not the first reviewer to mention the similarity to James Herbert's The Magic Cottage, and although I read that book back in 1986, An English Ghost Story instantly evoked very similar emotions in me of delight and fear in equal measure.

It's a credit to the author that his writing can entrance the reader for quite some time before the darkness slowly starts to set in. From then on the writing style subtly changes as we progress - from poetic descriptions to a sharper, staccato delivery which matches the tension.

The house is a metaphor for the story itself. It is not just a place occupied by ghosts and more sinister entities, it is home to diverse personalities with banal and extreme human traits, where strengths and weaknesses are tested - to the limit. Newman toys with the psychology of his characters, as does The Hollow, treating them as playthings in this place where memories are warped and misconceived solutions create more problems than they solve.

Overall, I was enraptured by An English Ghost Story and completely drawn in, making the book difficult to put down. The only reason I haven't given it five stars is that the Naremore characters repeat the justification for their actions a little too often and it feels like the reader is being reminded, just in case we might have forgotten what each of them has been through. But I can overlook this.

4 stars. Highly recommended.

Buy An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman from Amazon

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Sunday, 30 November 2014

New Chapbook Collaboration with KnightWatch Press

Two years ago I wrote a new twisted fairy tale, IN SEARCH OF SILVER BOUGHS - a story of boots, of regret, of magic and slaughter. It had no destination, no home but despite that it remains one of the pieces I've most enjoyed writing - ever.

On the back of the recent release of WITHIN WET WALLS, I had a conversation with Theresa Derwin, owner of KnightWatch Press who said she'd like to read it for consideration for KWP's 2015/16 chapbook series. Expecting nothing, I reformatted the story to KWP's specifications and sent it directly to Theresa.

At the end of October 2014 I had the pleasure of meeting Theresa in person, along with a plethora of other horror-writing folk at the Hallowe'en Horror Signing event at Shaftesbury Avenue's incredible Forbidden Planet, then again later at the British Fantasy Society Open Day. It was at this latter event that Theresa told me the secret... she wanted Silver Boughs.

It's an understatement, and not the slightest bit cool, to say "I'm so excited"! But I am.

KnightWatch Press has worked and is working with a whole host of new and established authors I admire, including William Meikle, Jasper Bark, Alison Littlewood, Christine Morgan, Michael R Brush, Sean T. Page, Tim Waggoner, James Everington and Gary McMahon. It's such a pleasure to join everyone, as well to be working with KWP's incredible team of editors, artists and writers.

I look forward to giving you more news soon but in the meantime, KWP's announcement is here (under Now for 2015).


Friday, 7 November 2014

Official Online Launch Party - Within Wet Walls

It's today! The Within Wet Walls online launch party on Facebook:


6pm UK | 1pm USA and Canada | 8am (8th Nov)


Here in the UK, Wealdstone will be creaking open its huge oak doors at 6pm.

Do join us - Eliza, the Footman, Julius... we'll all be there, waiting to pour glasses of virtual wine, water, absinthe - whatever's your poison. But just one thing, please bring your own skin... for we get thirsty too.

Ch√Ęteau Wealdstone

To our friends in the USA and Canada, take the afternoon off, scoot away from the office and join the The Within Wet Walls official online launch party at around 1pm for lunchtime cocktails!



If you're in Australia or New Zealand, the party starts early on 8th November - come along for breakfast coffee or a cheeky Bucks Fizz...


See you there!

Reviews


The book is already selling well on Amazon UK and Amazon.com, with reviews coming in from England, Canada and the USA...

"I can't recommend this book enough" - Briff

"Deliciously dark" - Helen Baggott

"Mist-soaked horror" - Icy Sedgwick

"Strange, sinister, and beautiful" - Callinout

"A captivating tale of curiosity and lust for the living soul" - Brandon Crouse

"...a Gothic Gem" - Blaze McRob

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Monday, 3 November 2014

WITHIN WET WALLS - out now, for your wicked pleasure

Within Wet Walls is a short, gothic ghost story inspired by M.R. James, Dickens and Sir Walter Scott.

It speaks of a medieval manor built in a Sussex forest where beings as old as the land itself swirl, translucent in the damp mists. Ever hungry.

Travel through time within the wet walls of Wealdstone House. Slip into Eliza Lundy's Victorian sub-existence of servitude and debauchery, laced with opium and absinthe. Taste the terror. Embrace life... while you can.

Eliza's wandering spirit will take you by the hand, by the throat, by the lips. Enter her darkness to discover the beautiful horrors that reside there. She's waiting. She's always waiting. For you.

OUT NOW! From just 99p/$1.59


Excerpt:

WITHIN WET WALLS


The first time I heard Georgia sing, I sucked her soul out through her skin. I took it – but I didn’t really want it, not then. 


Applause rang through Wealdstone’s derelict Great Hall. It drifted into cold Sussex skies to join the final notes of Georgia Holland’s aria. The sounds entwined, dispersed... fell again as a sparkling frost on a raw winter’s night.

The singer’s sculpted face gazed up at the vast ivy-edged hole in the roof, focussing on a slither of moon which glimmered and smiled at its companion star. Georgia raised princess hands towards the celestial display, bringing the audience to its feet in ovation.

Beneath broken beams, the room slowly quietened. People turned to each other in whispers, agreeing that Miss Holland not only sang like an angel, she looked like one; her beatific countenance transcending voice and stature. Her tall body swayed, swathed in white velvet. A stole of ivory feathers hung from the pin of her shoulders making wings at her back.

The hall sighed as one; Georgia’s scarlet mouth grew wide, the grin reaching her cheeks, her eyes.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

Roses as red as the singer’s lips flew at the stage to cries of ‘Brava! Brava!’ leaving a carpet of petals at her feet. Georgia stared down – exalted – but humble, always humble. Tears blurred her vision and she watched in fascination as the flowers seemed to lap at her dress, soaking the hem. Silence fell. Georgia frowned, her smile wasting away. Tendrils crept up her skirts in crawling fingers.

“What...?”

She grabbed the moist fabric. It stuck to her bare legs, cloying and dripping with gelatinous greenery. Gasps peppered the makeshift auditorium; cold air scattered across the thousand tea-lights, extinguishing some, flaring others into a frenzied dance.

“Help me!”

Georgia’s voice went unheard amongst the mounting screams as the audience watched a figure wrap itself around the performer’s paralysed body, enveloping her in spirals of translucence. It squeezed, constricting Georgia’s ribs like a snake before rising to shimmer before her face with a face of its own.

A girl.

A girl with row upon row of tiny pointed teeth.

“It won’t hurt,” the mouth sighed. “It will be delicious.”

And it was.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

PHOBOPHOBIAS Out Now! Fear and Terror Unveiled

The long-awaited paperback and ebook of Western Legends Publishing's PHOBOPHOBIAS is out now on Amazon - just in time for Hallowe'en. Perfect for this year's scare fest, and beyond.

You can take a little 'Look Inside' or download a sample here which not only allows you to read the table of contents and the intro. but also the two opening stories!


The sequel to indie success Phobophobia (Dark Continents Publishing 2012) Phobophobias explores twenty-six extraordinary and oft-irrational common or obscure fears, those that cripple us, stop us functioning as human beings. Even though it's all in our head - or is it?

My story, BAD EXPOSURE comes under 'I' for Ipovlopsychophobia - the fear of having your photograph taken. Model Alexis suffers a breakdown after a bizarre encounter in the crowds outside a London tube station. Her partner Joey and mutual friend Mike attempt to support her through recovery but all logic fails as Alexis's fears manifest all around them, even when she isn't there.

The anthology features some true masters of horror from the world of fiction and also the big screen, including the Hellraiser Female Cenobite, Barbie Wilde and Son of Nosferatu, Tim Dry.

We hope you enjoy the terrifying tales. If you feel so inclined, please do review the book. Thank you.

The full line up of authors is:

  • Christopher Beck
  • Adrian Chamberlin
  • Lily Childs
  • Mike Chinn
  • Raven Dane
  • Nerine Dorman
  • Christine Dougherty
  • Tim Dry
  • Jan Edwards
  • John Gilbert
  • D.T. Griffith
  • Lisa Jenkins
  • Emile-Louis Tomas Jouvet
  • Rakie Keig
  • Amelia Mangan
  • Peter Mark May
  • Christine Morgan
  • John Palisano
  • Daniel I. Russell
  • Phil Sloman
  • Sam Stone
  • Andrew Taylor
  • Mark West
  • Barbie Wilde
  • D.M. Youngquist 

The beautiful cover art was created by James Powell, and the cover design by D. T. Griffith. The editor is award-winning writer and film-maker Dean M. Drinkel.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Book Review: The Night Just Got Darker by Gary McMahon

When we lose someone, it’s common to hear the expression, “a light went out.” For Gary McMahon and many other writers, publishers, editors and readers who were friends of the late Joel Lane, the night did indeed get a great deal darker when he passed away in November 2013. The outpouring of sadness at the time – and since - was such that although I had never met Joel, my heart broke for those that loved him so much.

I confess I was somewhat nervous about reading The Night Just Got Darker. I’m a big fan of Gary McMahon’s writing; he has an uncanny way of twisting a needle into your soul to touch your deepest emotions, your anger, your fears… your hurt. I knew this chapbook was a dedication to his friend Joel and I asked myself if it was appropriate to read of someone’s grief laid bare. Feeling uncomfortable is something I usually welcome, but would this story be too personal?

Honestly?

The Night Just Got Darker is a beautifully written tale of observance and of being observed, of a man shifting away from banal normality into a troubling and spiritual mental landscape as he becomes fascinated with a writer that lives across the way. Their cautious relationship is as tender as it is sinister, taking the reader from a mundane fear of potential stalking to a slow realisation that nothing between the two men is as it seems - nothing. No story is enough. Life itself is not enough.

We find here a psychological mirror that reflects back an unsteady consciousness; that of the main character who has drifted almost lazily into a state of detachment before knocking on the writer’s door, of Erik – the writer himself whose almost ethereal existence appears stranger and stranger as the pages turn, and – be warned – it is that of the reader too.  But whose face stares back? And are they the faces we expect to see? Solid events begin to blur and merge, recollections and encounters become misty confusions as that clever McMahon needle wheedles down, down, down – all the better to prick you with.

Whose mind is ever real? Who sees life – or death – in the same colours? Who writes ‘your’ story? The Night Just Got Darker leaves these questions trailing like cold smoke by a wet canal, lingering… insidious.

A worthy and respectful homage, and a disturbing read. Highly recommended.

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Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.