My Top 5 Horror Books

Do you like to be scared? Not the oh-my-gawd-there’s-a-madman-with-an-axe-chasing-me-down-the-corridor type of scared, but the ‘safe’ scare of a good horror film or book, the type of scare where the monster stays safely inside the cinema or the pages of your book? I do. While you’d never catch me on a rollercoaster, the thrill ride of literary or filmic horror is something I actively seek out. With this in mind, and in the belief that I’m not alone in this, I thought I’d share with you my top five favourite scary books and films. This post will be about the books and I’ll share my scary movies next week. The Opener of the Way by Robert Bloch This collection of short stories by the writer of Psycho scared me witless. One story involving scarab beetles, while...

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I Don’t Know What to Write!

I’m a terrible procrastinator. I could represent Scotland in the Avoiding What You Should Be Doing olympics, such is my talent for being busy with anything except writing. And does this proficiency make me happy? No. So why do I do it? I was chatting about my low word count to Gary Parkin yesterday evening. “I want to write,” I moaned, “I just can’t decide which project to do.” “You know what you want to write,” he said. “No, I don’t.” “Yes, you do. You know what you WANT to write but you’re getting confused by things you think you SHOULD be writing.” “But…” He’s right. It pains me to admit it, but he’s absolutely spot on. I have three main projects on the go: Close To Home (crime fiction), The Maths Man Prophecies (black comedy) and The Knife Thrower’s Assistant...

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The Perfect Family

In the best traditions of Christmas, I’ve written a ghost story. The subject matter is very delicate so I think it only fair to issue some trigger warnings. If you have suffered from infertility, miscarriage or SIDS, you may find the following distressing.   The Perfect Family Joe had left her after the second baby. Two kids under three could be a handful, she acknowledged that. But being pregnant was so wonderful; to feel another being growing inside you, to watch your body change over the months, to experience the awe and magic when the baby arrived. Besides, being a mother was all that she knew how to do. It’s all she ever wanted. While other girls at school dreamed of their futures they’d mention pop stars and actors, but they’d also talk about...

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Carniepunk by Various

I have always found carnivals and traveling fairs very sinister places; places where the ‘freaks’ and dispossessed gather together and, at least in my imagination, seduce the unaware into the underworld, never to be seen again. It seems I’m not alone in my madness as Carniepunk, an anthology of urban fantasy stories set in and around traveling fairs, proves. There is a wide variety of stories in this book and many, like ‘The Werewife’ by Rachel Caine (one of my favourites) have a dark, surreal, nightmarish quality to them. For me, the best story in the collection is ‘The Demon Barker of Wheat Street’ by Kevin Hearne. Here, the author manages to blend his vision of hell with comedy – a psychic dog who sees “…a poodle in my future”...

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The Cover

My short story collection is a whole mix of genres: it may even shock you to know that there’s a couple of romance stories in there too. I know! But most of what I write tends towards the dark and humorous and I felt the cover should reflect this. I didn’t want to have an image that parodied itself by trying to show too many things at once, so I chose my favourite story from the collection, a tale of horror called ‘And The Angels Cried’, and tried to convey the mood of it. Thanks to Doctor Who in general and the Blink episode in particular, angel statuary has become very scary and seemed the obvious choice as the central image. Yes, I designed the cover myself. Would I like to have hired a designer? You betcha! But that will be for future...

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