Archive for January, 2019

Dark Places, Evil Faces volume II

January 31, 2019 - 10:55 pm No Comments

As part of LGBTQ+ month, author Lisa Vasquez answered my plea for an interview and books to review. The 1st book that was suggested was The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride. As I had read and reviewed this book http://terror-tree.co.uk/2017/05/the-unfleshed-tale-of-the-autopsic-bride-by-lisa-vasquez/ we had to come up with another. As a writer of short stories, Lisa Vasquez has featured in quite a few anthologies. Dark Places, Evil Faces volume II is one of the latest publications featuring one of her short stories and an added bonus all sales from this book go to Rethink Mental Illness https://www.rethink.org/  

Following after my review is an interview with Lisa Vasquez.

Dark Places, Evil Faces volume II

Published by Dark Terror Publications on 26th October 2018

501 pages

This book consisted of 31 short stories, perfect for when you need a short burst of horror. Every story was different, with various lengths and subject matter.

Starting off my review is Lisa Vasquez’s story is Mazie Shade of Winter. George was a successful author, happy with his life, then tragedy strikes making him a widower. 2 years later, we join him whilst he is trying to finish his latest work. Battling a storm, there is something more sinister than forked lightning. Reading this story you can feel George’s sense of loss and the guilt he had for not being there. However, the further you go into the story, you soon realise that George has something to hide. As the storm intensifies so does the story. With the basement having history and the constant clicking noise, you could understand George’s fear. However, when the lightning lit up the basement, not only was George’s secret revealed but there were a few unexpected surprises waiting. A creepy story.

Other stories I enjoyed were:

Man of Renown by Terry Grimwood: Set in 1888, Emily was always in fear, whether it was from violent clients or the Rips, a sadistic group of men. On one hectic night, a quiet unassuming gentleman came to her rescue and started a very unusual friendship. As you read this story, you are transported to the Victorian streets, the descriptive writing has you imagine the sights and sounds and Emily works her trade. The ending was unexpected and could this be another explanation of the deaths at the time.      

Christmas with the Dead by Joe R Lansdale: Christmas time and Calvin wanted to decorate his house. What was different this year was the town was populated by Zombies. One thing I enjoyed when I was reading this story was the unusual way the people were turned. This was a story of survival and remembering the dead. A new friendship is formed and a festive ending.    

Red Shoes by Andrew Lennon: Following Kurt and his vicious fixation with red shoes. This story is told over one night as we follow Kurt following his next victim. Whilst on his journey, he reminisces about his victims. The tension builds right up to the end as you are waiting for him to strike.           

An Acquired Taste by Pippa Bailey: Detective Pascal is in charge of an unusual case. Men are found in their beds naked and in a coma. Their only mistake was to be in bed by themselves, asleep and having a window open. Whilst we knew who was behind the attacks, it is only when a specialist joins the team do the details come out and you can see the struggle that the Detective has in believing the facts. Fast paced fantasy.       

Daddy’s Little Girl by Dale Robertson: Hayley’s parents were separated, all she wanted to do was stay with her dad. After finding an unusual box at a car boot, events start to unfold. The story draws you in with how sweet and innocent Hayley is. As you are reading the story, the true horror of the box is revealed and whilst the ending was to be expected the build-up wasn’t.

As well as the short stories there are two touching tributes. Lisa Vasquez writes a moving tribute to Draven Ames and Wrath James White writes a tribute to Jack Ketchum and after both tributes, there is a chance to read a short story by Draven Ames and Jack Ketchum.

As mentioned this book is for charity and with its bumper pages, you will surely find a short story to please you.  

Carry on to read my interview with Lisa Vasquez     

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Originally from Chicago, I implanted to Houston in 1996. A lifelong horror fan, I was raised on silverscreen horror (Universal Monsters, Silent Films) and Godzilla. My earliest memories are watching them with my (step)dad and him explaining the magic of special effects to me. I have been writing since the fourth grade and it’s the way I express myself, exorcise demons and fears, and address issues going on in current events (let’s face it, humans are the real monsters).

Currently, I run Stitched Smile Publications, and it’s one of my biggest accomplishments. I’m proud of how far we’ve come, how much we’ve given back, and the family we’ve formed.

Why horror? What is appeal of the genre to you as both a fan and as a writer?

Horror is designed to make us uncomfortable. It makes us think based on fear, stress, and triggers. If you want to know the real person, put them in a horrific situation. As a writer it allows me to venture into dark corridors of the mind, and as a reader, I get the thrill of not knowing what the author has in store for me.

As LBGTQ+ fan and writer of horror, how did you when you first became immersed in the genre and found that representation that you could identify was few and far between?

I honestly feel people are still afraid to address this issue. It’s still the “unknown”, it’s still a very real and raw subject matter. As much as we don’t like to believe our faith or moral upbringing plays a part in it, it does. Those things are like barbed quills. Removing them is painful. Anne Rice was brilliant in her application of these characters, and that’s when I realized there was a serious lack of it, elsewhere.

How did you discover authors that wrote about characters that you could relate to? Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

I discovered Thomas Harris and Hannibal in my high school years, I think it was. Such an impact he had on me!  This likeable monster wasn’t in an unfamiliar form (eg; Frankenstein, Dracula), he was human. What he went through broke him-absolutely ruined him. I began to wonder, what causes a human to transform into such a creature?

Other than horror I thoroughly enjoy dark fantasy. New worlds, new creatures, expanded creativity … it’s all nicely packaged and wonderful.

The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations. What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?

Horror has terrible associations with it. I think people call to mind the most graphic and terrible things in their memory when they encounter it and it sticks to their brain like a tumour. Education comes only when they expose themselves to more reading and accepting things like Paranormal, Crime, Sci-Fi, and dark fantasy all have elements of horror in them. Look at the movie, ALIEN. How frightening it was when it came out and yet people don’t associate it with horror like they do THE EXORCIST. Truthfully, they are all cousins in my opinion. When they box horror into a tiny container, they forget there are many more masks it wears.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

Oh, political horror has been around for ages, only more veiled because the author-and the people caught with the material-feared punishment from their government. With our freedoms now, it’s much easier to speak out without mincing our words. Looking at 1984, for example, or THE LOTTERY, we can see how those same fears apply now. I love THE HANDMAIDEN’S TALE because the author took actual real news headlines and used them to create a tale in which we had to come face to face with what we’ve done to ourselves and each other. My hope is we open our eyes and see it for what it is, not just fiction. Where do I see it going in the next few years? Wherever the real fears are. In the 50s it was nuclear war and invasions. Horror is simply a mirror … a big, dark, ugly mirror and we are its reflection.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

The books I love and have had to replace several times are Thomas Harris’ THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS series, PATIENT ZERO by Jonathon Maberry, BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman, and Anne Rice’s THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES.

Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN had a huge hand in influencing me, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, and Emily Bronte’.

Films I’d say impacted me? Definitely ALIEN, DRACULA, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, HELLRAISER, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, GATES OF HELL … geeze I can go on but those are just off the top of my head.

In recent years there has been a slow but gradual diversification within the genre, which new LBGTQ+ writers do you think we should be paying attention to?

We have our eye on Steven Stacy and have published works by Carmilla Voiez. Some of her work is off the charts and the books she’s published have beautiful artwork to compliment her words. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you who else to look out for because I don’t read authors based on their sexual preference or gender. With that said, I would like to see more of them making debuts. The outlet for expression is powerful. Let their voices be heard, not because of their sexual preference but because they tell a kick ass story! My hope is we will see more women, LBGTQ, disabled, and minority writers come into their own so we don’t have to label them and protect them from being swept under the carpet.

How would you describe your writing style?

I am my own worst critic, and I think that’s true of most authors. I still have a lot of growing to do, but I think my style is a mish mash of macabre and gothic.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I was deeply touched by John Palisano’s review of THE UNFLESHED, TALE OF THE AUTOPSIC BRIDE. I was extremely vulnerable when I released it and seeing someone like him give it praise made me feel validated in way.

Negative? Oh yeah, I had two girls review it and say it made no sense and it raised my hackles a little but I got over it rather quickly. My writing isn’t for everyone, I’m ok with that. Just say you didn’t like it. When people poke fun at it to appear “witty” in public, I find it to be another form or bullying. You can criticize a work intellectually. Unless you’re a comedian and that’s your job…stick to your day job.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Editing. Uggghhh … that’s why I hired Donelle (Pardee Whiting)

Are there any subjects that you would never write about?

Never say never. I try to avoid certain subjects but if the story dictates it, I’ll have to confront it. The skill is in how you tread along the delicate nature of some subjects. Yes, horror is meant to be uncomfortable but for me personally, I feel some subject matter is too much. What others write about is their own choice.

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?

The truth is I teach and mentor. If you can open yourself to learning from others and be a real scholar, you never stay stagnant. You understand life is about learning and giving back. Fill the pitcher so you can refill it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing? Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you attempted to break through the barriers that are so often in place against LBGTQ+ writers?

The best advice is to write for ME. Hone your skill, listen to feedback, but never try to fit a mold. And as AJ Brown says, “keep it simple”. As for breaking the barriers for LBGTQ? Be brave, be true, and never apologize. You have a voice. Unleash it. I also suggest networking. There’s strength in numbers. Teach acceptance, not tolerance. You don’t have to be “tolerated” … you have a right to be yourself and to be proud of it.

Many CIS white male authors use LGBTQ+ characters in their works, what’s the mistake that they make when trying to portray these characters?

They assume, and it’s dangerous. You’re assuming what you see, what you’ve heard, what media portrays is how things are. Research means talking to people who live what you’re writing about. If you continue to portray people in a false light you offend them and perpetrate lies. Never assume what a person has walked through and felt. Ask them.

Moving on to getting your work read by unwashed masses, what do you think is the biggest misconception about LGBTQ+ fiction?

That it’s porn. I think it’s the simplest way I can put it.

There are as number of presses dedicated to LGBTQ+ fiction, do you view these as a good thing, or do you think they help to perpetuate the ongoing exclusion from mainstream presses?

It’s good until it boxes them in. Sometimes, you have to put yourself out there, expand your audience, and take a risk. If another publishing house wants your work, it’s a step forward. Take it and run!

And here is the million dollar question do you agree with movements like this and things such as Women in Horror Month? If so how would you like to see sites such as Ginger Nuts of Horror tackle diversity?

Women in Horror and LGBTQ is as important because it says, “we support these writers into our world”. When someone of influence like GINGERNUTS OF HORROR stands up for others, people take notice. I always say, “If you aren’t condoning it, you’re supporting it” when it comes to negative behaviour. Then again, I’ve always stood up for those who have little to no voice. We are all human, we are supposed to be evolved and past all this bullsh*t. If people put more time and energy into learning their craft and writing, there would be less time to allocate to negativity.

The most common phrase you hear when people object to active movements to encourage all forms of diversity is “I don’t care about the sexuality, gender, color etc etc of the writer I only care about good stories” what would you like to say to these people?

You won’t get a chance to read all the good stories until you care.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favorite child, and who is your least favorite to write for and why?

I don’t have a least favorite … and I can’t choose between my children. They are all so “alive” to me. Each one has a purpose and if they didn’t, I wouldn’t have spent all the time to cultivate and create them.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

THE UNSAINTLY. Even though its no longer in print as I re-edit/rewrite it, it was my first finished novel length piece and taught me the most.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

I worked very hard on THE UNFLESHED: TALE OF THE AUTOPSIC BRIDE and I feel it’s the best I’ve put out so far. I have a lot of short stories, but I feel I got to shine a little in THE UNFLESHED.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?

“Condemn me to my belly, I’ll still walk all over you.” THE UNSAINTLY

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

THE UNFLESHED is my last book. It’s dark, speculative, alternate history. It’s my homage to Mary Shelley and to date, my darkest tale. I’m working on a few pieces at the moment. Next up for release is a book of collected stories with several other powerful women (Jae Mazer, Jessica Raney, Donelle Pardee Whiting, and Ashley Davis) called UMBRA about dark magical creatures. Each author submitted a novella sized story to complete this work and it should be out in summer 2018.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

I’m still in “fangirl” mode over BIRD BOX from Josh Malerman. He took horror back for me and made it simple: the unknown. You never know in the book what the “monster” is. It’s brilliant. I wasn’t fond of ANNHILATION. Just wasn’t my cup of tea, even though I know others really loved it.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?

I get a lot of great questions in my interviews, I’ve been lucky. I wish someone would ask me what the single most important thing is for authors. It’s reviews. The rest comes after. Yes, some want to be the next Stephen King, some want to be the next JK Rowling, some want to be rich, others want a big publisher to grab them. The truth is, none that happens if we don’t have reviews or word of mouth. Reviewers like yourself and GINGERNUTS are the only way we can survive and deserve the respect. Authors can get entitled and feel their work is worth you dropping everything “right now”. In this industry, if you’re not genuine, it’ll come back and bite you in the ass. People, especially authors, don’t easily forget. It’s a cutthroat industry, when you step on others to get ahead you burn a bridge. Popularity is fickle. At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself and your work because your work is all you have to show for everything. Integrity is how you operate when no one’s looking. I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror every day and be happy with what I see. I want my kids and their kids not to be ashamed of the person I am. It has nothing to do with fame, or fortune, and everything to do with my reputation.

Thank you, Yvonne and Gingernuts for this interview and supporting the authors!

Deviations from the Norm by Mark Allan Gunnells

January 28, 2019 - 8:56 pm No Comments

Early last week as part of LGBTQ+ month Ginger Nuts of Horror posted an interview with Mark Allan Gunnells. If you want to read more of the interview here it is http://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/lgbtq-focus-five-minutes-with-author-mark-allan-gunnells

 

I was introduced to this author’s work when I read Where the Dead Go to Die in collaboration with Aaron Dries. Mark Allan Gunnells is one author that when a new book is released, I one-click straight away. Deviations from the Norm is the latest release

Deviations from the Norm by Mark Allan Gunnells

Published 22nd September 2018

302 pages

This book consists of three novellas of variant lengths, each one with a different theme and all three will draw you in.

The Unholy Eucharist is the longest of the novellas. When Peter, a stranger to Father Ryan wants to tell him his story, he didn’t believe what he was hearing.  Spanning over centuries this story tells the tale of the events leading up the 1st vampire and how he learnt to survive. With a well-known religious story as the backstory, I really enjoyed this novella. As the story progresses, you follow Peter on a journey that has its ups and downs, going from someone who everyone loved to a loathed creature. As I was reading this story I really felt for Peter as all he wanted to do was save a life. As it covers a long period of time, you appreciate how Peter had to adapt to the society he was living in, to protect his secret and others that he came into contact with. Having to learn to make his own decision from all the information and dramatic life-changing events thrown at him. The ending to this story was ingenious and has you wondering what would happen next.

Kronoz: Martin Garland had not had a good childhood, living with an alcoholic mom, he never knew who his father was and was too scared to ask. However, after one drinking session, his mom revealed a secret that would have an everlasting memory. Whilst his childhood wasn’t perfect, his adult life was a success. Throughout all his success, he had a burning desire to help his mom and Kronoz was invented. Martin was one of those characters that I took an instant like to, whilst he had a difficult upbringing, he never made excuses and always tried to be the best. The older he got, he always kept that ethos with whatever he was doing. The invention of time travel have you wondering what would you do in that situation and I could understand why it was done.     

The Price of Success is a story of two university friends who both studying English. Throughout their education, there was talk of a book collaboration and whilst they both dream of success as authors, only one gets what they think they want. Mat and Brad were complete opposites and as you read this story,  you realise how much their personality changes with the success that is given. When the deal is made with Mr Pyre, the twists that follow have you guessing where the story was taking you. The story reached a perfect ending, which I was pleased to read.

This is a good read for any horror or fantasy reader. The stories are short enough for you to read in one sitting as once you start one, you will not want to put it down. I am looking forward to what this author is going to bring out in 2019     

The Suburban Book of the Dead by Jamie Sands

January 23, 2019 - 10:33 pm No Comments

As part of my LGBTQ+ month reading, I have come across a new to me author Jamie Sands. I have just read their 1st novel and have also got an interesting interview with the author themselves At the moment this author’s book is on sale on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suburban-Book-Dead-Jamie-Sands-ebook/dp/B07HPYFXYV/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1548282456&sr=8-6&keywords=The+Suburban+book+of+the+dead

The Suburban Book of the Dead by Jamie Sands

Published on 26th September 2018

215 pages

The Suburban Book of the Dead is a YA novel with a blend of the paranormal. Rain had a fascination with the visiting carnival, well not the whole carnival, just the operator of the Ferris Wheel. After plotting her move, she decided that the last night of the holidays would be the night that she approached him. Everything was going just how she planned until she heard a blood-curdling scream and her best friend Rachel was killed. Now a ghost Rachel latched on to her best friend, all she wanted Rain to do was to avenge her death. But could Rain accomplish her best friend’s request, learn to grieve and get the boy of her dreams.

It took me a couple of pages to like Rain, as at the start she was just like any other girl, superficial and only thought about herself, however after Rachel died, she seemed to have a purpose and whilst on the surface she came across as cruel and snippy, she was trying to cope with the death. Hooking up with Jake saved her, as without his knowledge she would have joined her friend in the afterlife. Jake was a hunter, imagine a younger version of Dean Winchester, knowing something was not right at the carnival he was working undercover to sort out the supernatural issue.

From the 1st demonic attack, you are drawn into a story that will capture your imagination. With the story revolving around Rain and Jake, you witness the changes in them and whilst Jake learnt to rely on someone else, Rain started to mature the more she learnt about the dangers. The relationship between Rain and Rachel was very close even after death, sometimes comical especially when Rachel would materialise without a word of warning. The scene in the ghost train involving the monster had me imagining a slightly scarier Sully from Monsters Inc and I do wonder sometimes where my imagination goes.

The story was a fast pace as there was always something going on, whether it was a simple exorcism or doing their research in the library. There were twists in the story to help build up the tension for the final battle and I did not expect the final scenes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this 1st novel and I hope to read more of Rain’s adventures. A YA story that will suit teenager and adults alike.

Want to know more about Jamie Sands, here is their interview

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Jamie Sands. I’m an almost 40 year old living in Auckland, New Zealand. I’m non-binary, preferring they/them pronouns and I’m recently married to a wonderful woman and I write fiction. I’ve always been a reader, my father used to take me to the local library ever Thursday and I’d get out a stack of books. 

Why horror? What is appeal of the genre to you as both a fan and as a writer?

I guess the appeal for me is the same as why I love to ride roller coasters: the unknown, the thrill, the screams. I get the same exhilaration from reading a really good horror. If it gives me shivers or nightmares then I know it’s done a good job. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with monsters, so my work is usually paranormal or folkloric in nature, rather than about humans behaving badly.

As LBGTQ+ fan and writer of horror, how did you when you first became immersed in the genre and found that representation that you could identify was few and far between?

It wasn’t a surprise to me, most of the genre I read you really have to search for queer representation. However, I have found that the speculative fiction communities – science fiction, fantasy and horror included, to be full of lovely inclusive and diverse people. It’s improving!

How did you discover authors that wrote about characters that you could relate to? Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

I’ve discovered authors with queer content through word of mouth and recommendations from other queer people mostly. Outside the horror genre, science fiction and fantasy were big influences on my writing. In particular young adult fiction and urban fantasy. Especially Mercedes Lackey’s urban fantasy which would include bi and gay characters without making it a big thing. Neil Gaiman’s work too.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

I’m hoping that we’ll see a lot more happy endings, people overcoming the odds and banding together with other good people to defeat evil. One of my favourite horror movie series is The Purge sequence, which has a strong anti-authority /eat the rich mentality to it. I love the idea of horror as resistance.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

Roald Dahl’s works definitely had an influence on me, that mixture of whimsy and horror. Holly Black’s Young Adult fantasy, the way she writes fairies is just wonderful. I watch a lot of films so it’s hard to pinpoint any that influence me as a writer, but definitely all Jim Henson’s works on TV and film. There was an old series called The Storyteller that I watched avidly.

In recent years there has been a slow but gradual diversification within the genre, which new LBGTQ+ writers do you think we should be paying attention to?

Emma Osborne has published some gloriously creepy short stories. Jordan Kurella, Marianne Kirby, A. Merc Rustad and Aliette de Bodard are all brilliant. There’s a couple of books coming out soon that I am especially looking forward to reading called The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling and The Outside by Ada Hoffman. There’s a brilliant short story Which Super Little Dead Girl™ Are You? Take Our Quiz and Find Out! by Nino Cipri which just blew my mind. They have new stuff coming out soon too.

How would you describe your writing style?

I used to be purely a pantser – just write as it comes and trust the muse – but lately I’ve been experimenting with plotting and planning and I find I don’t hate it. I do a kind of basic ‘this scene then this scene’ plan and ensure I’m hitting the beats, the right arcs and then write around that.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I haven’t had too much published yet, but I do love my positive reviews.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Editing, probably. I love the process, and I love how my mind gets caught up in solving problems, or thinking up twists, but when I have to go back and revise and improve stuff, I just get kind of bored. I’ll still do it, but I have to really force myself to get motivated and not just put it off and focus on the new shiny things.

Are there any subjects that you would never write about?

I’ll never write explicit sexual assault scenes. I just think there’s enough of that in the world already, and I don’t see the point in adding more. I wouldn’t want to either, the idea of writing that squicks me out.

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?

I believe in always learning and improving. Probably the best, biggest development I’ve had was learning how to receive criticism and feedback without taking it personally. I’ve learned how to process and examine my work, and the feedback, critically and improve things without getting hung up on it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

Look for the conflict in the scene and then focus on that.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you attempted to break through the barriers that are so often in place against LBGTQ+ writers?

Networking with others in the community is key. I also believe in using whatever platform I have to promote other authors, the more we talk about different voices the better.

Many CIS white male authors use LGBTQ+ characters in their works, what’s the mistake that they make when trying to portray these characters?

I don’t think I can generalise that all cis male authors do one thing with queer characters, but the one trope I see perpetually is having just one LGBTQ+ character as a token. Then killing them off before they get to do anything interesting or affect the plot at all.

Moving on to getting your work read by unwashed masses, what do you think is the biggest misconception about LGBTQ+ fiction?

That it’s all some SJW special snowflake stuff, and that it’s a bad thing. This notion of ‘PC gone mad’ is a huge barrier. People seem to think that queer stories will only be about being queer and queer issues. As if we’re just inventing diversity for the sake of it, we’re not. We’re just trying to write about the truths we’ve experienced through fiction.

There are a number of presses dedicated to LGBTQ+ fiction, do you view these as a good thing, or do you think they help to perpetuate the ongoing exclusion from mainstream presses?

I think until the mainstream presses publish minority fiction at the same rate they publish cis white male authors then dedicated presses are needed. If only to get the work out there!

And here is the million dollar question do you agree with movements like this and things such as Women in Horror Month?

I do agree, because without them there’s a whole lot of people who just wouldn’t be exposed to new voices. I know how easy it is to just keep reading Stephen King, because he’s great and he keeps putting stuff out there. I’ve been there. But unless you make an effort to read outside what you know you may never find the best book you’ve ever read. Events which put minority voices and authors in front of readers who may love them are fantastic.

If so how would you like to see sites such as Ginger Nuts of Horror tackle diversity?

Ideally you wouldn’t need to make it an event, because you’d regularly highlight and share output from diverse voices.

The most common phrase you hear when people object to active movements to encourage all forms of diversity is “I don’t care about the sexuality, gender, color etc etc of the writer I only care about good stories” what would you like to say to these people?

I’d say: sure. Good stories are what we’re all after, but if you’re only ever reading say, white straight American male authors all you’re reading is from the same point of view. There’s a whole world out there, and it’s filled with exciting and interesting points of view. Have you read Nalo Hopkinson? Her book Brown Girl in the Ring is an astounding mix of horror, folklore, dystopia and Afro-Jamaican culture. I love Stephen King, but he can’t write that!

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favorite child, and who is your least favorite to write for and why?

This one’s tough. Probably my favourite child is a kelpie from my first novel. He was so much fun, an utter wreck and a monster. First novel though, so it’s never going to be published. I don’t know that I have a least favorite, because when I write them I get to love them. Even the baddies.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the ‘end of the rainbow’ story I had published in the Baby Teeth anthology. Maybe something I haven’t published yet is what I’m most proud of though…

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

I only have one novel published which is just my own. I also have a couple of short stories in the Baby Teeth horror anthology.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

The Suburban Book of the Dead is a young adult ghost story which also features demons and monster hunters. My lead character’s best friend is killed in the first part of the book and then comes back as a ghost. They have to take down an evil carnival and get revenge, it’s good fun.

I’ve started a series of paranormal mysteries set in New Zealand, lots of creepy stuff and a bad ass lesbian detective lead character. The first book is in the submissions process at the moment.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

I really liked the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’m pretty strict on just stopping reading books I’m not enjoying, and then I forget them.

What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?

I’d like someone to ask me to direct a movie. I’d be great at that.  They could say ‘here’s the new blockbuster horror franchise and lots of money, would you please direct it?” and I’d obviously say yes.


A Heart in the Right Place by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

January 22, 2019 - 6:48 am No Comments

A Heart in the Right Place by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Published by Pigeon Park Press on 30th November 2018

228 pages

As soon as the blog tour was announced for this book, I knew that I had to be part of it. One thing I love about these authors is that I will always get a laugh reading their work.

Nick always thinks he is the failure out of the 2 sons. Planning a special trip for his terminally ill father, he orders a special gift for his dad’s birthday. Finn is a killer for hire, paid to do the dirty work for corporate bodies, she has been paid to get a heart. When their paths cross, what follows is a comedy of errors.

Nick and his dad Tony were 2 great characters. Nick a Generation Y, was not practical, thought outside the box and things tended to go wrong, Tony was the complete opposite, a typical dad, hardworking and practical. At the start of the book, their relationship was disjointed as Nick was trying too hard, but as disaster, after disaster followed, they started to get closer. Some of my favourite scenes happened when their lives were in danger and they were discussing films and survival techniques.

The description of Finn as the terminator was spot on, a no-nonsense woman who got the job done regardless of how bloody it got and who had a fascination of cataloguing the people she met.

Throughout the book, everyday items were put to unusual uses and I never knew how versatile Duct tape was. The imagination of the authors is incredible and I always wonder where they get their ideas from. Who else would come up with Finn abseiling down using intestines attached to the man she just killed. 

This book had it all, action, horror and comedy all rolled into one fast-paced thriller. Whilst the story is bloody and gory, you don’t notice, as you are giggling about the situation that caused the mess. This was a quick loveable read and if it was not for real life I would have read it in one sitting. Whilst this is a standalone story, I would love to see Nick and Tony tackle other chaotic adventures.

Starblood (The Starblood Series Book 1) by Carmilla Voiez

January 20, 2019 - 7:49 am No Comments

Early this month for LGBTQ+ Month in Horror Ginger Nuts of Horror ran an interview with Carmilla Voiez. http://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/lgbtq-horror-month-author-interview-with-carmilla-voiez?fbclid=IwAR1xySuvoa6j-df48j9HL6aggCEwAfElvimD570OfSBlyTRqyWkfnwhRF58

Here is my review of Starblood

Starblood (The Starblood Series Book 1) by Carmilla Voiez

Published by Vamptasy Publishing 11th December 2018

273 pages

Steve or Satori to his friends loved magic. Having split up with his girlfriend Sarah (Star) all he could think off was getting her back. Using his research, he calls upon a demon to give him extra power to get Sarah back. However, in steps Lilith succubus, serpent, temptress of Eve, first wife of Adam, dark mother.

Satori was infatuated with Star to the point that it was an obsession. He was overconfident with his powers which made him come across as arrogant and cocky. Star was the complete opposite, everyone wanted to mother.

With a handful of characters, you get to know about each in depth. Raven likes to be in charge, the leader of the little group. Freya after a tragic loss gravitates to the group and Donna best friend of Star wanted more than friendship. Their friendship was strong which helped them cope with the prejudice of some people due to their Goth lifestyle. 

As soon as Satori casts the spell, you are drawn into a tale of love and betrayal. Whilst the love between Satori and Star used to be there and you sense how desperate Satori is. However, when Star was with Lilith you sensed that their love was real. It was sensuous with a hint of danger. However, I got the impression that Lilith was playing with Star’s emotions as a cat plays with its prey.

Scenes were described in detail and I enjoyed reading about the night outs which were very similar to my clubbing days. The kill scenes were graphic and showed just how brutal a woman’s scorn can be, whether it was out of protection or a jealous outburst. The sex scenes added intensity to the story as, as a reader, you had the facts at hand and knew that both Satori and Star would be angry when they found out what the other had been up to   

Whilst this story did not finish on a cliffhanger, I am curious to know what happens next. With its mixture of horror and romance, this will please dark readers.