Saturday, 15 January 2022

Haunted: Crossing the Line

It's not every day (or indeed year) I have a ghost story published, but my spooky tale, Crossing the Line, is included in Specul8 Publishing's "Haunted" anthology, which was appropriately released on Christmas Eve. It's only available in print, but it's a beautiful product and well worth it if your bookshelf needs a little haunting!

As long as people have drawn breath, they have pondered the divide between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. From the grief-stricken to the grotesque, the haunting to the humorous, stories about those who have crossed back through the veil between worlds have frightened, inspired, and awed humankind for countless centuries. Featuring poetry and short fiction from 29 Australian and New Zealand authors, this collection begs to ask the question: Is death truly the end?

Click the cover image to visit the purchase page.

I grace the pages with an amazing cast of talented writers. Here's the full list:

Mike Adamson
KM Campbell
Simon J. Plant
Chris Moss
Anthony Ferguson
Belinda Brady
Tim Borella
Cameron Trost
Karen Bayly
Matthew R. Davis
Narelle L Noppert
Taine Andrews
Issy Jinarmo
Lana Lea
Ashley Read
John Brandt
Adelae Guevara
Louise Zedda-Sampson
BG Hilton
Leanbh Pearson
Carmen Tudor
Nandi Samuel
Rainie Zenith
Kate Maxwell
Barbara Smith
Prema Arasu
LJ McLeod
Bronwyn Todd
 
Order a copy today and get ready for a spooky time!

Monday, 3 January 2022

Among the Headstones - Interview with Pamela Turner

I’ve interviewed fellow contributor to Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard, Pamela Turner, as part of the preparations for the release of the anthology early next year. Full details about the haunting anthology are provided at the end of the interview.

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How do you feel about cemeteries? Do find them creepy?

When I was growing up in my hometown, I believed the local cemetery was haunted. No one had told me it was. I believed it because I read horror anthologies in elementary school, and it fed my imagination. I remember thinking how scary it must be for those living near the cemetery, especially after dark. Now cemeteries are some of my favorite places to visit. I like learning about the different symbols, looking at the statues, and even discovering a unique headstone.

How would you like to be buried?

Since my husband was a veteran, I will probably be buried with him in the veterans’ cemetery. On Veterans Day this year, I met a veteran who told me that when a spouse dies and is buried with the veteran, his or her information is engraved on the other side of the veteran’s headstone. Next time I go to the cemetery, I’m going to look for this.

What scared you when you were a child?

Dolls. Believing my dolls would steal my soul, I made them face the wall before I went to bed. And one was a Raggedy Ann doll. At the time, I didn’t know about the infamous Annabelle, which was probably a good thing. I’ve since read Algernon Blackwood’s short story and watched the Night Gallery episode.

What’s your favourite horror book? What do you like about it?

The Shining by Stephen King is my favorite horror novel. A family is trapped in a hotel during the winter with the father/caretaker slowly going mad and threatening his wife and son. But his wife fights back to save her family.

Who is your favourite Gothic author? Why?

Shirley Jackson is my favorite Gothic author. Her novel The Haunting of Hill House is, along with The Shining, one of the creepiest stories I’ve read. It impresses me how she made the house itself a character and a sinister one. Also, I’ll never forget the ending. What I’m curious about is what happened in Hill House to cause the haunting, although I don’t think that’s ever explained.

For readers who are new to your fiction, which of your books would be a good start?

My novella The Ripper’s Daughter, which takes place ten years after the Ripper’s murder spree. Prostitutes are showing up dead in Louisville, Kentucky, and a former detective inspector turned vampire/tavern owner fears Jack is responsible.

ABOUT PAMELA TURNER

Pamela Turner’s love for the paranormal began in elementary school, where she discovered anthologies filled with ghosts, witches, vampires, and other creatures that go bump in the night. Then there was Rod Serling’s Night Gallery and that creepy doll. Fearing her Raggedy Ann doll would steal her soul, Pamela made the doll face the wall before she went to bed.

Despite this, her interest in the supernatural continued. In middle school, she penned her own tales of terror. Fellow students enjoyed them, and she dreamed of becoming a published author.

After a short stint as a freelance magazine writer, she decided to return to writing fiction. She's also an award-winning screenplay writer.

Currently, she writes paranormal suspense featuring vampires, dragons, angels, and demons. Just don’t expect her angels to always be good or her demons to always be evil.

Many of her stories are set in Louisville, Kentucky where she lives with her daughter and herds three rescue cats. When not writing, she enjoys anime and manga, weaving, aviation, cemeteries, and abandoned buildings.

You can find her at https://pamturner.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PamelaTurnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pamturner97/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pamelaturner


ABOUT THE BOOK

AMONG THE HEADSTONES: CREEPY TALES FROM THE GRAVEYARD

This anthology, edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest - and creepiest - graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.

Here you will find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.

You'll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.

Now let’s open the gate - can you hear it creak on its hinges? - and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.

But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement... They may be right behind you.


Purchase Link: mybook.to/Headstones

The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2022. (After that date, the price will go up.) The paperback is already published.



Friday, 31 December 2021

Guest Post: Footsteps on the Stairs

Creepy Memories of my Haunted Childhood Home

By Tylluan Penry

The house where I grew up was haunted. It also was dark, cold, and some rum things must have happened there, judging by the number of airgun pellets embedded in the doors and the great knife stuffed up one of the bedroom chimneys. My mother, whose perception was dodgy at the best of times, declared it a wonderful house, full of laughter, and said that her own father had moved into it and out again on the same day. That should have warned her, but apparently it didn’t.

Still, by the time she died (my mother almost made it to a hundred, which surprised me, as I thought she was going to live to be three hundred and six just to annoy everyone) a lot more horrible things had happened there. If it was haunted back in the 1950’s, I dread to think what it must be like now. I wouldn’t go into that house now, not for a king’s ransom.

Haunting wise, as a child, I hated going to the toilet in the middle of the night because of the footsteps. These always began halfway down the attic stairs, continuing along the landing then halfway down the next set of stairs towards the downstairs hall. There they stopped.

‘You probably heard the people next door,’ said my mother, when I told her.

Not unless they had a pogo stick, Mum.

‘You’re just looking for attention,’ she said, when I screamed because I’d seen a ghost in the doorway of my brother’s bedroom one day. I was only about eight.

She didn’t admit, until years later, that the same ghost regularly appeared to one of my brothers in exactly the same place and dressed in the same clothes. (That was the room where the knife was found in the chimney.)

When it all got too much, even for her, she claimed we had somehow ‘driven’ the laughter out of the house.

It was never there, Mum. Trust me. Not a chuckle, not a giggle, just remorseless darkness.

However, it was my father who finally made me realise I wasn’t going mad. One day he cautiously asked me if I’d ever heard footsteps on the landing.

When I said I had, he looked relieved, telling me, ‘So have I. Last night. They started halfway down the attic stairs, came along the landing…’

I waited for him to say they’d gone halfway down the stairs into the hall but he didn’t. ‘And then, next thing I knew, they put the bloody light out in the toilet!’

Mum told my Dad it must have been the people next door but he wasn’t impressed.

‘Then they must have had bloody long arms to reach through the letter box and up the stairs to the toilet.’

‘Why doesn’t she listen, dad?’ I asked.

He shrugged, looking mystified. ‘Well… you know your mother.’

He was right. We did.

And some of us fervently wished we didn’t.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tylluan Penry is a pagan solitary witch who has devoted much of her life to teaching about the Craft. She was born and brought up in a family of witches (on her mother’s side) although all they ever did was hex. It was a horror story in its own right! When she managed to leave this tradition (and her family, though it wasn’t easy) she moved on to develop her own solitary path which she called ‘Seeking the Green.’ Over the years she has developed this further and written about many topics including Ice Age spirituality, the Anglo-Saxons, knot magic and magic on the breath.

She is married, has a large family, including grandchildren, dogs, and lives in a rather ramshackle home with an overgrown garden, together with ghosts, spirits and the Gentle Folk. There is a huge cemetery opposite her home which ought to be scary but is actually very serene and peaceful. She has always loved writing, and wrote her first (very) short story when she was six, soon progressing to full length stories. She has now written almost thirty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Most of them can be found at The Wolfenhowle Press.

Some of her fiction is on Kindle under the name T P Penry. Her chapter in the anthology, Among the Headstones is based firmly in Wales, with a smattering of golf balls, gravestones and the Highway Code. She has always believed that creepy stories need a good pinch of humour in order to work well (at least, in her experience.)

Tylluan also has a YouTube Channel, with over two hundred videos about solitary witchcraft.

ABOUT THE BOOK

This book, edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest - and creepiest - graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.

Here you'll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.

You'll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.

Now let's open the gate - can you hear it creak on its hinges? - and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.

But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement... They may be right behind you. Purchase Link: mybook.to/Headstones


The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2022. (After that date, the price will go up.) A paperback is about to be published.




Monday, 27 December 2021

Review: When the Cicadas Stop Singing

 

When the Cicadas Stop Singing by Zachary Ashford is epic action concentrated into a novella. From the first page to the last, the reader shares Cora's struggle to survive and hopefully reach safety. The setting is the Australian outback in the middle of a reptile apocalyse and Zachary makes the right decision by not providing backstory; after all, that would only be a pointless and contrived distraction from the rip-roaring adventure. What we have in this story is one woman's fight not only against lizard-men but also fellow humans in a world here no one can trust anyone else. When Cora crosses paths with Sarah and Darren after she kills a lizard-man, the temperature rockets from hot to volcanic. 

The characters are spot on in this story and Zachary brings the setting to life with vivid the vivid descriptions of a man who knows the Aussie wilderness. The houseboat is a great touch, providing a focal point for the conflict in store. The writing is rough and to-the-point, befitting the length and breakneck pace of the plot. 

Is this story for you? The choice is easy to make, and while we're so often told not to judge a book by its cover, you absolutely can in this case. Cora is a tough woman with the will to survive and the strength to make it through. If you like strong, independent heroines, brutal action in the wilderness, and reptilian foes, you'll love this novella.

Lastly, and on a personal note, Zachary hails the same city as me; Brisbane, Australia, and although I may be biased, I think we have a hell of a lot more literary talent back home than we're given credit for. I look froward to being dropped into more of Zachary Ashford's apocalytpic wastelands.

Find this review on Goodreads.

Friday, 24 December 2021

Review: Fortitude by Karen Bayly

Fortitude by Karen Bayly is a rollicking steampunk adventure set in New Londinium in 1901. Karen sets the story up with a neat prologue that introduces the reader to this alternate London before diving into the action. We meet Viola Winslow, who works at the Registry of Dirigibles and will soon cross paths with our heroine sisters, Parthena and Artemis. The reader immediately understands that together they will lead a struggle against the dark forces seeking to bring this bright city to its knees. 

The world-building, characters, plot, and pacing are all spot on in this novel. We know where Bayly is taking us, but we don't know precisely how, and there's no telling when and how big each explosion will be. What we do suspect from its very first mention is that we'll board the dirigible, Fortitudo, and experience some wild times above the city of New Londinium before the battle has been won. And there, we're not disappointed.

Karen seemlessly interweaves character development, technological explanations, and a romantic subplot while never letting the pace drop, making this an engaging fast-paced action thriller. I'd love to see this made into a film. But sticking to the page, the prose is smooth and elegant while packing a punch...or rather, a blast of steam. This is a well-written, entertaining, and thought-provoking novel that will suit fans of steampunk adventure and sci-fiction in general, but also appeal to fans of dystopian and horror fiction. Above all, it's perfect for anyone who has ever imagined saving the world from the pilot seat of a dirigible. So, get moving! Grab your goggles and gloves, and climb aboard the Fortitudo!

Find this review on Goodreads.