I’m super excited to be working with the incredibly talented surrealist artist David Whitlam to produce the cover art for my upcoming collection NEW GODS, OLD MONSTERS. Above is just one of his amazing pieces of art.
I believe David’s otherworldly and unsettling images are a perfect fit for my work, and can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
When I heard that HellBound Books were publishing a ghost anthology by The Horror Zine, I had high hopes – and I wasn’t disappointed. The Horror Zine is a true gem of the internet, whilst HellBound consistently produce some of the highest quality anthologies out there.
It’s no exaggeration to say the Horror Zine Book of Ghosts is an outstanding modern ghost anthology – I don’t believe there is a weak link in there and some of the stories gave me a proper chill.
The Book of Ghost Stories is, unsurprisingly, full of ghosts; malevolent ghosts, playful ghosts, vengeful and even ravenously hungry ghosts. There are haunted houses, haunted people and haunted dreams. It lurches from the creepy to the macabre to the downright terrifying, which is exactly what it aims to do.
The writing is consistently high quality, the concepts are clever and the protagonists are largely those that you find yourself caring about, even if you wish them ill. I could find something good to say about every story, but these were my highlights –
The very first paragraph of ‘Vacuum’ by MN Nichols offers a great introduction to the anthology. The story whirls the reader into a sad and desperate world, one that is breaking apart even as we read. It’s all the more painful for being seen through the eyes of a child
There were many scary stories in here, but the one that gave me a proper old fashioned scare was ‘Proof of Afterlife’, by Derek Austin Johnson. The hair on my arms raised as I was reading, and I don’t frighten easily!
‘Cutting the Mustard’ by Graham Masterton and Dawn G Harris was an intentionally tough read. It builds and builds to a truly horrific climax, offering, for my money, the most disturbing scene in the anthology
I could see what was happening fairly early on in Christian A Larsen’s ‘Something to Nibble On’, but I guess I was meant to, and anyway it didn’t help one bit. It was still seriously macabre and provoked more than one wince.
‘All That She Leaves Behind’ by S.J. Budd is quite simply beautifully written and offers a welcome change of pace and mood. It’s a soulful and introspective journey through grief that seems to be heading towards a strange reconciliation, till Budd steers it into something quite different.
Tim Waggoner’s ‘The White Road’ is a ghost chase with a fantastically imagined monster. It jumps, skips and loops unexpectedly back upon itself, leaving you breathless.
Jeani Rector’s chilling haunted house mystery ‘The House on Henley Way’ rounds the anthology off in a most satisfying way.
If you’re looking for a book of ghost stories set in the modern day, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Twenty-six imaginative and original tales, well told. You can’t say fairer than that.
Jeffreys places these fragile characters in weird situations ranging from the macabre to the downright frightening, resulting in a palpable and almost constant sense of threat. The skewed realities they are forced to face will challenge, change and sometimes destroy them.
The collection begins with THE HIDDEN LAYER. It’s not clear what sort of journey failed artist Ann is on, as she discovers her mentor’s horrific secrets, but it leads her deeper into a dark and dangerous world, spiralling to an unexpected conclusion. The entire story is redolent with an atmosphere of threat, and a sense of dread.
For my money, the highlight of the collection is the downright creepy HERE COMES MISTER HERRIBONE! The surviving member of a successful comedy duo is haunted by the memory of his dead partner, who played the character Mr Herribone. Herribone was a figure of fun wearing a full head mask, but the man inside was tortured, resentful and deeply unhappy. He is naturally creepy in the same way that ventriloquist dummies are.
The collection ends on a high note, with the deeply unnerving THE LAST SHOT. Death seems to dog photographer Russell’s footsteps, with some of his subjects dying soon after he took what proved to be their final shot. As often with Jeffrey, the story doesn’t go where you expect, and there is a nasty sting in the tail.
Overall, BLACK MASQUERADE is a highly enjoyable ride. It will be published early next year, and I’ll be sure to link to it when it’s released.
I’m currently working with Tim Jeffreys of Dark Lane Books to publish my first ever collection! It’s tentatively titled ‘New Gods, Old Monsters’, named after one of the stories, but that may change.
In line with the Dark Lane house style, New Gods, Old Monsters will be ‘an assortment of the weird and wonderful, the monstrous and the macabre’. So, rather than a straight-ahead collection of horror stories, it will be an unsettling and deeply weird mix of horror, fantasy and science fiction.
The book will be available on Amazon and Lulu. Dark Lane artists produce beautiful covers, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. See the cover for the upcoming Dark Lane Volume 10 below.
This is huge news for me! I’ll tweet and blog about it as we get closer to publication.
My Story ‘Lest the Kraken Wakes’ will also appear in Dark Lane Volume 10
The King of the Crows- An ages-old monster drowses in a forgotten underground river. When the stream dwindles, the creature awakes. Two intertwined stories, forty years apart, where friends and lovers must fight to survive.
Today was a remarkable day for me. I signed a contract with Giles Press, who have acquired my debut novel ‘The King of The Crows’! This is a huge step for me- I’ve seen my short stories published at better than one a month, but to bag a book deal without an agent is massive. Agents, I’m coming for you.
The King of the Crows is a time slip horror novel based in Dundee, Scotland. If you like crows, ruinous mills, crows and teenagers in danger of a richly deserved pecking, this is the book for you.
Just got my copy of Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the year anthology, volume 11.
My story is featured on the back cover- how cool is that?
I went straight to Joe Hill’s YOU ARE RELEASED which was just as good as I had heard. Looking forward to reading the whole thing, constantly having to remind myself that I’m one of the authors in there.
This is one scary book. The pic below is me reading the table of contents
Dark Lane books volume 8 is coming out soon. Dark Lane ask contributors to ‘show us your weird’ and the mix of strange and beautiful stories in every anthology does that for sure.
There’s Horror, SF, Bizarro and just straight ahead great fiction. My own story Los Niños appears in volume 8 and it’s my third stroll down the dark lane- I’m honoured to be associated with it! Editor Tim Jeffreys, a great writer, invited me to do an interview for his blog, so here it is-