A Christmas Ghost Story

‘Know whit’s traditional at Christmas?’ he said. ‘Ghost stories. Everybiddy loves a Ghost story’ I swirled the beer at the bottom of my glass and smiled. ‘Load a shite, in’t it?’ ‘Naw, naw. Look at Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Classic ghost story that.’ I raised an eyebrow. ‘Name another then.’ ‘Well, they don’t need to be set at Christmas, dae they? Take that MR James bloke. He wrote hundreds a ghost stories and used to invite his work pals tae his office, get them drunk and scare the living shite oot of them. And wis there no a series of ghost stories oan the telly at Christmas? Oanyway,’ he paused to take a swig of his beer, ‘it’s a tradition. Nothing else to say aboot it.’ ‘Dae ye think they’re real? Ghosts?’ ‘Naw! Gie us a brek! See me? Man o science. If...

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How They Were Found by Matt Bell

It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a collection of short stories as much as I did How They Were Found. Matt Bell is a wonderful writer: his stories are varied in topic and style, but he never fails to find the voice of each of his characters, making them real, even when the world they inhabit is very different from any we might recognise. Take the opening story, The Cartographer’s Girl. Here we are introduced to the cartographer, who is drawing detailed and annotated maps of the city in an effort to find the love that he lost. His story is heartbreaking and beautifully told, each word chosen with care. It is followed by The Receiving Tower, a dystopian tale about hanging on to hope when there is no reason to. I found the plight of the men in this piece...

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Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend: A Guest Post from Calum Kerr

I am delighted to welcome Calum Kerr to my blog today in the first of what, I hope, will become many posts from guest bloggers. Cal is the director of National Flash Fiction day and has Lost Property, a new collection of some of his fabulous short stories out now from Cinder House and Amazon UK. Let me hand over to the man himself to tell us a little about his love of horror and share one of his acutely observed and dark tales. ***** When I first started writing, or at least writing with an eye to publications, I was writing horror stories. Okay, so I was reading a lot of Stephen King, James Herbert, Shaun Hutson, Richard Laymon, Ramsay Campbell and even (I feel ashamed to admit now) Dean R. Koontz. I may have been influenced, but I did like me a bit of gore and...

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It’s heeeeerre!

Yup, the moment we’ve all been dreading and looking forward to in equal measure is here: my book is now available on Amazon. I promise not to go on and on and on about it and asking you all to buy it. After today. But for today, every time someone decides not to buy my book, the kitten gets it. You have been warned. You can buy And The Angels Cried and other stories on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.   The social media...

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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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