Things I ‘Should’ Be Doing

The End of 2021 is Beckoning

Instead of ploughing into the to-do list, which has a terrible habit of expanding, I am writing this. It helps to organise the brain, maybe. I opened up my submission spreadsheet and there’s hardly any writing submissions outstanding! It’s almost dry! This gave me a bit of a ‘must write, must submit’ moment. No, I shouldn’t. I’ve enough to keep going and hope to tie it all up to start 2022 with key priorities from which I will resist deviation. I will resist. I must resist! My wandering eye needs reigned in!
Wrapping up 2021, so far, I’ve had stories published with Black Ink Fiction, Books of Horror, Crimson Pinnacle Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, Insignia Stories, Iron Faerie Publishing, KJK Publishing, The Evil Cookie Publishing, The Macabre Ladies, Sirens Call Publications and have published my collection, Murmur: Collected Horror. And I have a few pieces of work pinned — don’t we always?!
Writing aside, I’ve been studying, proofread several titles, completed developmental editing work, created promotional materials including written copy and graphics, written forewords, completed interviews, edited KJK Publishing’s 2021 releases (The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition, The Horror Collection: Ruby Edition, The Horror Collection: Yellow Edition and Halloween Land) — with another two scheduled for release by the end of the year, and it’s not over yet!
So, I’m back to trying to pull focus into what I MUST tie up, on top of editing before 2022, which includes finishing up a couple of writing projects. With less than three months left it’ll be over before we know it.
I am going in firmer in 2022 with what I take on. My novel (that I had hoped to finish this year) didn’t get much attention due to other projects swaying my eye and life doing its curveball of mayhem routine, so that will be at the forefront of my list. I am starting a degree course in January, which will require much attention. I will be collaborating on two projects, one with another (damn talented) woman in horror, Ruthann Jagge (who, if you haven’t, you MUST check out) — I cannot wait to see what we create together. And another exciting collaboration with the one and only Kevin J. Kennedy, another indie story weaver who should be on your reading list. There’s more pencilled in, but the priorities are in bloody ink!

2022 Collaboration Tease.
2022 Collaboration Tease.
Landing in 2021.

City of the Dead

Twisted Legends: Crimson Pinnacle Press

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.

Children playing in Glasgow’s Southern Necropolis. Circa early 1950’s

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.

Sunday Mail article 26th September 1954

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!

The book received a high volume of submissions of twisted takes on urban legends from around the globe. The editors chose the top 13 offerings, and I am thrilled to have made the cut, alongside; Thomas R Clark, Lance Dale, Lance Harkers, Stephen Johnson, Ruthann Jagge, Jae Mazer, Jason Myers, Pamela A. Parish, Chris Puzak, RJ Roles, Vic Kerry, and Robb T. White.

Graphic created by Lance Dale.

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.

Undertow City

Strolling through the city of ghosts
Mine and others
Life lessening; remnants many
The only commodities exponentially growing
The less-ness and the dead
Faces curl by, mighty and mellow
Jesting jesters
Secret stalkers
Smooth and lined
Chiselling the face of ages
Charcoal sketches in a dusty book
My neck cranes from the tarmac
To sandstone stretching skyward
Behind blacked shades I hasten a look
Faces carved into stone statues
Corrosion of time changes their masks
And I see you there
Dancing among the gargoyles
Faces I’ve known
Faces I’ve kissed
Faces long dismissed
Echoes of ancient conversations
Undertows hidden behind music
Soothing ears and fears with every pluck and stroke
Muffling hyper consternation
Rapid beats in the throat
Lost words imprint the atmosphere
Bare toes curl into the black cracked pavement
They keep remaking it
Covering the splits
The old tracks; spectre paths
Undertows ripple underfoot
Soon only remnants shall remain
Ruptured
I’m one of them; a mere echo
In this Undertow City.

Gorefest!

Gorefest is one of the most anticipated projects I’ve been part of this year. From The Evil Cookie Publishing, 14 authors carve their path through the muck and grime to celebrate the art of gore!

The book is still with the editor, but I cannot wait to get stuck into reading this extreme anthology soon! My contribution was written specifically for the Gorefest call. To say that I was keen to be considered would be an understatement. I called upon one of the most beloved music venues in my hometown of Glasgow to set the scene and ambience for a literal gorefest in my story, Fuckin’ Maggots. I was listening to a lot of Slipknot when I wrote this. The line, ‘and the rain will kill us all,’ from their track, Psychosocial was looping in my head, driving me nuts, my brain can get a touch obsessive — Fuckin’ Maggots helped purge the loop! I am sure other metal fans will note various nods to the scene within the piece. One of those — if you know, you know! I had a blast writing this, I hope readers enjoy it as much as I did.

Gorefest can be pre-ordered now via Amazon at a lower pre-release price. Given the talent in this line-up, I am confident this will be one book that fans of e//xtreme horror will be buzzing about this year. Get it now! \m/

*Update 29/08/2021*

It’s out and to further add to the excitement of this release, an EXCLUSIVE — GOREFEST GODLESS EDITOR’S CHOICE EDITION is also available ONLY at GODLESS! This edition features handwritten commentary and doodles throughout the book from the editor, K. Trap Jones! It’s an absolute must buy!

The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition – First Review

First review is in! Check out Lisa Lee’s thoughts on KJK Publishing’s The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition!

THE HORROR COLLECTION:Extreme EditionKJK Publishing Extreme Horror Fans Only . Synopsis The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition, KJK Publishing …

The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition

Collector’s Edition

Collector’s Edition is a short story written specifically for The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition, featuring a character who appears in another piece of mine releasing later this year. This one introduces Lexie in the setting of the parent story, which readers can delve into in October. Being Extreme, readers can expect graphic sex and a fair amount of bloodshed.
The inspiration for Collector’s Edition was ignited by a documentary I had seen about a porn actor suspected of (knowingly) transmitting an STD to a string of professional and personal sexual partners.
With that spark, I went down a more alternative path with what was being transmitted and the motivations. Horror buff collectors can be somewhat out of the box in how they cumulate their pieces, and Dave has his kink to feed. I had fun with this one.
I tend to stick to the U.K. as far as locations. This is the first published story that’s taken place largely overseas (I think)! Though my reoccurring character, Lexie, is from Glasgow, which is where this one opens. If you’re a gig-goer in Scotland, maybe you’ll recognise the venue?
I don’t want to give much away, so I’ll leave it there – check out my story along with extreme horror helpings from my fellow TOC buddies in The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition. Featuring all-new original works from; Nic Brady, Matthew A. Clarke, David Owain Hughes, Kevin J. Kennedy, Kyle M. Scott, and Matt Shaw.

‘Horny Dead Fucks’

FILTHY FREE FICTION

Live and free over on Horror Sleaze Trash today is a new filthy little flash story, Horny Dead Fucksfrom Natasha Sinclair and David Owain Hughes.

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!

New Releases from KJK Publishing

It’s a tandem release from KJK Publishing! These two have been very much anticipated titles – from Kennedy, myself, the authors and readers in waiting, and I am thrilled that they are now available.

The Horror Collection: Ruby Edition celebrates the 10th book of the series! Featuring exciting and horrifying original stories from;

Tom DeadyCalvin DemmerLex H. JonesRonald KellyKevin J. KennedyChristopher MotzKyle M. ScottGuy N. Smith, and Steve Stred. As well as the horror, there is also a poem written by Kennedy’s father, John Kennedy, published in his memory.

Since its conception in 2018, The Horror Collection series has been a firm favourite amongst global horror readers.

With each edition, KJK Publishing has prided itself in bringing audiences new stories from a coalition of brilliant indie talent across the spectrum of horror literature. Putting these stories firmly in the hands of readers, these collections are perfect for those who enjoy shorter works of fiction, those seeking fresh talent in the horror genre and make great reads, as a break between devouring longer works. A novel break, we could say!

The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition has also landed!

This highly anticipated anthology from KJK Publishing is only the third in the series to be specifically themed.

Featuring established and new talent, each with vivid, sickening prowess in executing extreme, gut-churning, explicit, adult horror — Nic BradyMatthew A. ClarkeDavid Owain HughesKevin J. KennedyKyle M. ScottMatt Shaw and Natasha Sinclair have each contributed their slice of extreme in seven never-before-published stories, for your darkest pleasure! Extreme Edition is the unruly weirdo in the family who has no filter. The one that all the good crass, uncomfortable and disturbing stories come from — you wouldn’t trust them alone with your wife or kid! Hell, you don’t exactly want to be caught up alone with them yourself! This one has no boundaries. It’s the social anarchist of the relatively straight-laced bunch — that’s even with the freaky bizarro cousin interwoven through the THC books.

Grab your copies now! And as always, sharing your thoughts by leaving an honest review is always greatly appreciated.

If you are a reviewer of Horror Anthologies and fancy digging into either of the collections, drop me a message or reach out to Kennedy — we are always happy to build contacts in our dark little community.

27/07/2021

Horror Sleaze Trash

Live and free over on Horror Sleaze Trash today is a new filthy little flash story, Milked, from Natasha Sinclair and David Owain Hughes.

Check out our story and the many other dirty little words over there — tissues, lube and a sick bucket are reasonable condiments to have close by.

Enjoy! 😉

Figment

Pressing, softly through the cracks
Fragments of consciousness
Piston hissing speckled the dead-night

Moving electricity aside
She slips in like butter
Melting and reforming to what I once knew

She was melancholy like my heart
Sullen of soul
My scion mirror

The tunnel formed
Attuning the station
Between pre and post mortem
A hollow in this verse
A meeting place

We spoke about mortality
Not with words
It was all there, though
Moths fluttering in the air
It’s been a while…

Since we shared space
Since we shared time
She keeps reminding me, though
Those are figments...

Of faux comfort
Fool’s restraints
Flimsy, weak cortex
It’s not everything
Not even close

The cat’s body is in the next room
Upon the pink bedspread
His marbled fur of coppers and black
Still as the void
I can look if I want, she tells me
He won’t stir yet
But I can’t leave
Paralysed in the serenity
Permeating from her form

There’s so much more to that cat

The sun seeps in
Glimmers strain against the sides
Dagger sharp
Fragments tear the space asunder

I’m here again…
She’s gone.
© Natasha Sinclair