Have you visited TBM Horror lately? Well, it’s a phenomenal platform created and hosted by a dynamic and passionate creative force, lover of all things horror 💀 and metal 🤘, owner of Disturbing Drawings (you MUST check out her artwork), Mar Garcia!
Mar kindly had me over in her space for a blether, shared on TBM’s YouTube channel.
Scoot over to TBM Horror to check out great (regularly updated) content on Horror in creative industries, from articles, books, movies, bands, video games and art!
If you fancy checking out my natter with Mar, the YouTube links are here:
Just a quick share. I was invited to interview over on Masters of Horror U.K. by David Kempf. We chat about writing inspiration, the popularity of horror, publishing and current projects. You can check that out by clicking the link. Apparently, I can be a bit of a blether! Much thanks to David Kempf, and those who take the time to check it out!
When propositioned to create a story based around an urban legend, I was keen to offer a Scottish framed piece for consideration to this popular anthology theme. With an abundance of folk tales around Scotland and its many isles to inspire, I decided to dip into what I’m more intimately aquatinted — Glasgow. The central belt is brimming with inspiration. Three urban legends immediately sprung to mind. However, when I began drafting a story, I hopped, unfocused between tales and my first attempt got pinned as I had a stronger pull towards another.
Much can spiral from classroom whispers and the imagination and zest of children. The inspiring legend of The Gorbals Vampire (or Ir’n Jenni), which spawned hysteria, climaxing in September 1954, and Alexander Anderson’s poem, Jenny wi’ the Airn Teeth, led the way for my creation. The Gorbals Vampire incident brought much debate about censorship of literary material (from poetry in the classroom to imported American comics) to impressionable children, and the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 was passed through the House of Commons. Censorship is an area that is still very much debated today through the arts, worldwide — and not just with children in mind — this deepened my draw to this particular event.
My story, City of the Dead, was created as a nod to the notorious child vampire hunt of 1954 in Glasgow’s Southern Necropolis and Alexander Anderson’s poem from 1870. I love a good cemetery setting (typical goth, I know), so taking on The Southern Necropolis — which is home to over 250,000 buried souls was a lot of fun. I enjoyed writing this one. It’s always satisfying to weave regional dialect through a piece — bringing authenticity to the characters and reverence to the urban legend’s roots.
I won’t share spoilers beyond the base inspiration for my own story, as City of the Dead was submitted and subsequently accepted by Crimson Pinnacle Press for their Twisted Legends anthology!
Having been published in Crimson Pinnacle Press’ (invite only) inaugural anthology, Fairy Tale Horrorshow, I am ecstatic to be accepted into their pages once again! The duo who run the press, RJ Roles and Jason Myers, certainly have the eye for unique, quality indie horror, I promise you that! You’ll have to pick that up to read my take on this urban legend from Scotland and the 12 other twisted legends, launching October 25th. The eBook pre-order is live.
Thanks for reading!
In addition, if you’d like to listen to me reading Anderson’s poem the video is below.
This is our second story to be featured by HST — we both had a blast writing this one. Check it out for a free fix of sexy, sleazy horror fiction. As with our last one, Milked— tissues and lube are appropriate condiments to have on standby!
This is a unique anthology of short stories, to say the least. Each invited author was tasked to contribute their twist on a beloved fairy tale.
The Table of Contents includes;
Piper — M Ennenbach Midnight at the Glass Slipper — Ruthann Jagge Always Time for Tea — Natasha Sinclair She Saw Red: Once Upon a Crime part 1 — Jason Myers Swine of Another Kind: Once Upon a Crime part 2 — RJ Roles Pinnochio the Wooden Hoe — Matthew A. Clarke The Vengeful Little Mermaid — Tara Losacano What Goes into the Forest, Never Comes Out — Lance Dale Tonight, Tonight — Denise Hargrove It’s No Fairy Tale Out There — Kevin J. Kennedy
In celebration of the book launch, Crimson Pinnacle Press’ duo, along with a few of the contributing authors, are gathering for a blether live on Horror Talk Radio. It could be chaos — check it out on YouTube.
If you pick up the book, please leave an honest review!
A little bit about my contribution:
Always Time for Tea was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in wonderland. While the inspiring story, by Lewis Carroll, is about the ‘normal’ turbulent journey of a young girl from childhood to adolescence, in whimsical, masterful, metaphorical prose. Always Time for Tea only touches on that theme, along with some intolerance. Though at an older stage, as my MC’s story begins as a teenager and meanders through a journey of change — through a radically more alternative setting and situation. Led by the protagonist, Alicia Liddell’s adventure in a polyamorous, BDSM relationship and her subsequent initiation into the head table (the elite tea party) at a local fetish club. To which she was introduced to by one of her lovers (Red) and met the other (Chess). This piece, as would be expected, does get rather trippy, thanks (in part) to the cornucopia of mushrooms served at the tea party and the eccentric host, Myrick Hatch — if readers get a mild Red Cap nod from him, you would not be wrong. He was a fusion character of lyrical eccentricity for sure, designed to create a little intense discomfort. This story began with an idea I had pinned from a while back about tight-lacing. But almost reverting backwards from the modern use of steel boning to whalebone – though as opposed to whalebone, I considered how this could be fetishised and even cannibalistic in sourcing human ribs to restrain ribs. That was the original idea, but it became something else entirely when I returned to it for Fairy Tale Horrorshow. Nonetheless, it was loads of fun to write, and I felt freedom in writing this piece, thanks to the inspiring story and the awesome publishers who didn’t impose any boundaries on the submission invitation.
May has, so far, been a fairly empty month as far as writing is concerned. Consciously so, but I still feel like I should be, even with the lack of time — notes and scattered lines to come back to only.
I have been dipping into a collection that I was (semi) planning to release this summer and designing some cover-art options to help inspire the project and move it along. The collection (if I release it) will consist of previously published short stories, whose rights have reverted back to me, and a few pieces that haven’t been printed before. I’m still undecided on whether to release it or not when it’s complete. That project is still in the compiling stage.
Since my last post, two of my submissions have sold! Very pleased with those. My short stories, Collector’s Edition and Always Time for Tea, will be published this summer. These were both invite-only opportunities. Even with that faith from the publisher(s), the submission nerves are probably a little more pressurised than those from an open-call — so, yes! I am delighted the stories were each received well! One is a horror fairytale twist inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the other was (mildly) inspired by a documentary I watched a while back blended with the habits of a horror-fan collector. I’ll share more about those when the publishers have made their announcements and we have a release date.
Editing work has had my primary focus in May. This has been a good break from writing projects. Editing flexes a different creative muscle and is no less fun — especially when it’s not my own work! It’s nice to have a canoodle inside other creatives’ brains (words) and is an immense privilege, which I am always grateful to be entrusted with — especially developmental work.
Releasing this month is Mythical Creatures of Asia from INSIGNIA STORIES, in which I have three drabbles featured; To Be Unborn, Beneath the Mangoes and Seasoning Earth. I loved writing these little morsels. This eBook is available to pre-order now, dropping live on 10th May.
Recently I was asked to interview with the wonderful D&T Publishing for Women in Horror (WIH) month – February 2021. At first, I was, admittedly, taken aback because I live with a serious case of imposter syndrome — I mean ‘Women in Horror’, why would I be asked?! Why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? Then it dawned on me, Hey, yeah, I am one of those – a woman who writes horror! Needless to say, I agreed happily, in support of a wonderful publishing house run by wife and husband duo, Dawn and Timothy, who do so very much for the indie horror community. They even warmly accepted one of my little dark tales, ‘Neighbours’, into their dark fiction anthology ‘After the Kool-Aid is Gone’ last year.
With a massive line-up of planned publications this coming year, they are a publisher to put on your ‘to watch’ list for sure! Check them out by visiting their website and socials:
A little update since the sands are sure as hell quickening, if not entirely running away.
Reading this year has been pretty diverse, with an unintentional heavy focus on horror of all flavours. I’ve also developed a taste for bizzaro horror. I’ve come across a few authors who have tickled me — a new (non) guilty pleasure for sure. If it’s gonna simultaneously gross me out and make me laugh my ass off, it’s a thumbs up! Outwith proofreading, editing and competition reading my ‘just for fun’ list, in no particular order, have included:
Richard Laymon – The Beast House Chronicles Edward Lee – City Infernal (Series) Kevin J. Kennedy – The Horror Collection (Anthology Series) Jethro Punter – The Daydreamer Chronicles Eleanor Merry – Dead Aware (Series) RJ Roles – Girl’s Best Friend (Tangled Web Series) Steve Stred – Ritual (Father of Lies Trilogy) Matt Shaw – Deep Rooted Fetish (Short) Duncan Ralston – In Every Dark Corner (Shorts Collection) Darren Tarditi – Neigfrid (Novella) Natasha Mostert – The Midnight Side (Novel) Laurel K Hamilton – Anita Blake (Series) K Trap Jones – Welcome to the Splatter Club (Anthology) Ernest Cline – Ready Player One Ernest Cline – Armada Christine Morgan – Lakehouse Infernal Insignia Stories – Japanese Fantasy Drabbles Liian Varus – Is Stranged John Black – Growlers Iron Faerie Publishing – Hawthorn & Ash (Anthology Series) Iron Faerie Publishing – The Best of Iron Faerie Publishing 2019 Andrew Lennon – Life to Waste Tim Lebbon – Eden Saemund Sigfussion, Snorri Sturluson – The Poetic Edda & The Prose Edda
Writing wise, as per my previous posts, I’ve been subbing work out this year. When it comes to responding to open-calls and invites it can be a bit like having free time (which I never do) and swanning into a well stocked library — it’s easy to get lost and devoured by the stacks! Or, maybe a more precise analogy is the old ‘kid in a sweet shop’!
The submission opportunities are plentiful and you can’t write or, indeed, get accepted into them all.
I’ve naturally had a preference for small press/indie publishers. Responding to these opportunities is rather nice as it takes the work out of the book building/formatting side — which is an immense amount of work on the publishing side. I massively appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes of a quality publication and am truly grateful to a part of each one who’ve warmly accepted my (often) warped little terrors into their fold.
Designing stories with specific open calls as a target has helped reign in the ideas by having a set genre or word count to meet. It’s been beneficial as I oftentimes overwhelm myself with too many ideas that get scattered around as notes and poetry that may evolve, or not. Needless to say, responding to some of the opportunities has put my other WIPs on pause, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it gives those stories and characters more time to prove and maybe keeps the demon, Writers’ Block, at bay.
Some of my published (and to be published work) can be found within the catalogue of the below Publishers:
Those currently available are updated on my ‘Books’ page and links for those to come will make an appearance in due course. The below two titles are releasing in September 15th (Dark Celebration) and September 28th (Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles). I am grateful to have two pieces in each alongside a TOC of talented international writers. Both anthologies are available to preorder now from Amazon, worldwide.