Short Fiction, Writing

Vampire Folkore

Vampires are one of the most common and popular themes in horror fiction. An enduring trope that continues to fascinate readers throughout the generation. But how do we imagine vampires? How do our ideals compare to the original vampires of folklore? The Succubi of Ancient Greece and Rome, and the haunting vampires of Slavic cultures throughout Eastern Europe.

Before the publication of Bram Stocker’s Dracula, the majority of vampires in prose or poetry were based on vampiric folklore, particularly from Slavic cultures, where vampires were almost always female. The recent popularisation of vampires in literary fiction and film has seen a reversal of the vampire identity where the vampire is now more often male and female vampires are a rarity.

Two of my recent microfictions will feature in Blood Lust by Black Ink Fiction. “The Hungering” focuses on a young female vampire, portraying her as the traditional vampire, a seductively dangerous predator but one who grapples to control her nature and blood lust. “The Burial” is a different look of vampiric folklore, instead focusing on an archaeological excavation and the discovery of a suspected vampire burial, the beliefs of the historical culture and the superstition of the modern cultures, a linking across time based on the strong belief and fear of vampires.

events, Writing

Scorpio Anthology Release


I am excited to announce the release of Scorpio (The Zodiac Series, #11) from Deadset Press that launched on 28th March, 2021. I had the great pleasure of co-editing this zodiac- themed anthology featuring short stories inspired by the Scorpio zodiac including my Gaslamp fantasy story “Serket’s Curse”. You can read more about my research into Egyptology and the creation of an alternate Victorian era Dublin here.

If you are interested in purchasing an ebook or paperback copy of Scorpio (The Zodiac Series, #11) you can find more details here.

events, Writing

April Horrors Anthology Release

I’m excited to announce the release on March 17, 2021 of April Horrors (A 100 Word Horror Collection) published by Raven and Drake Publishing featuring two of my micro-fiction pieces “Necropants” and “The Devil’s Fool”.

April Horrors is a dark April Fools themed anthology is inspired by tricks, jokes and pranks gone awry. My Drabble “The Devil’s Fools”, set in medieval Europe and inspired by the folklore, fear and association between suspected witches and the Devil. The second Drabble “Necropants”, set in Viking Age Iceland and inspired by the folklore of wearing a man’s flayed lower-half, the ‘pants’ ensorcelled to always provide constant coins. Want to learn more about my research for these two stories? You can read more here.

Interested in purchasing an ebook or paperback copy of April Horrors (A 100 Word Horror Collection) ? More details, purchase links and options can be found here.

Short Fiction, Writing

Aztec Rituals & the God of Death

One of the most interesting folklore research I did recently involved the Aztec Empire in Mesoamerica. I have always been fascinated by the Aztec Empire and the many intriguing mythologies and my latest research was into the god of Underworld, Mictlantecuhtli. The death-god is often depicted in constant combat with the opposing force, the god of renewal Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent. The two gods are constantly locked in a fight for supremacy, the balance between life and death.

The Aztecs practised human sacrifice on a colossal scale in the late stages of the empire. Recent archaeological excavations in the sacred city of Tenochtitlan at the base of one of the largest pyramid temples, the Tempo Mayor, huge wooden racks of skulls were offerings to the gods of war and rain. The extreme numbers of suggested human sacrifices coincided with Aztec empire expansion, it was probably considered necessary to appease the gods who could provide battle success and the rains to grow crops and support an increasing population.

The Aztec Underworld or Mictlán was ruled by god Mictlantecuhtli. To the Aztecs, every soul no matter the privilege or poverty during life, would descend through the nine layers of Mictlán to face Mictlantecuhtli. Not surprisingly, worship of Mictlantecuhtli was important to all Aztecs and during the Aztec month of Tititl , the temple Tlalxicco conducted a specific ritual human sacrifice. A chosen sacrifice became the embodiment of Mictlantecuhtli and sacrificed at night to honour the god.

In my flash fiction story, I was inspired by the elaborate skeletal depictions of Mictlantecuhtli and the creation myth where Quetzalcoatl is deliberately delayed in the Underworld while searching for the bones of every creature destroyed in the previous world. The Aztecs, like many past civilisations, had a cyclic view of time rather than a linear one. Drawing on inspiration from depictions of Mictlantecuhtli adorned in carved bones or as a skeletal figure, my flash fiction story was set during the Aztec month of Tititl at night at the temple Tlalxicco. Here the ritual sacrifice gruesomely transforms the flesh embodiment of Mictlantecuhtli into a skeletal representation of the death-god before sunrise.

events, Short Fiction, Writing

Showcasing my Dark Fiction: Coming Soon

As the celebration of Women in Horror Month comes to an end, I’ve got a vampire themed dark micro-fiction coming soon in Blood Lust (Legends of the Night, #2) by Black Ink Fiction.

For a final hurrah, here’s a sneak peek at one of my most recent dark fiction works, the folklore, history and vampires in “The Hungering” . Enjoy!

Short Fiction, Writing

Forthcoming: Paranormal Anthology

Bones (Five Hundred Fiction, #4)

Pleased to announce my flash fiction story “The Bones of a Dead God” will feature in Bones (Five Hundred Fiction, #4) to be published in 2021 by Black Hare Press! All flash fiction in this anthology is inspired by dark pagan themes. My story “The Bones of a Dead God” is inspired by Aztec ritual and legends.

Release dates and how to purchase a copy of the Bones (Five Hundred Fiction, #4) will be updated when available. Keep an eye on my publications page here.

Short Fiction, Writing

Forthcoming: Supernatural Anthology

Haunt (Five Hundred Fiction, #6)

Pleased to announce my flash fiction story “The Haunted Ones” will feature in Haunt (Five Hundred Fiction, #6) to be published in 2021 by Black Hare Press! All flash fiction in this anthology is inspired by the theme of hauntings.

Release dates and how to purchase a copy of the Haunt (Five Hundred Fiction, #6) will be updated when available. Keep an eye on my publications page here.

Short Fiction

Horror, History & Folklore

While it’s Women in Horror Month, I’ve been researching gothic and dark folklore themes. Here’s a few of the diverse research topics I encountered including the history of witchcraft and an Icelandic folklore sure to make your skin crawl.


Witchcraft: the Devil’s Influence

Accusations of witchcraft have a long history. The era of associated with the highest prevalence of witch trials and executions was the 14th century, but before these later witch hunts of the Middle Ages, those often accused of witchcraft included midwives, healers and those dwelling on the fringe of their community, blamed for sickness, crop failure and unexpected deaths. When researching this theme, I examined the folklore of the Devil’s involvement through deliberate actions or more subtle means such as manipulation.


Necropants: Grisly Icelandic Folklore

A folklore tradition believed to be practiced in Iceland as late as the 17th century, was the gruesome lore behind necropants. A deal made with a male friend upon his death, involved flaying the skin from the waist down in a single piece and wearing the pants which adhered to the new owner. A coin stolen from a widow and a magical sigil, were inserted into the scrotum make certain the testicular sacks were always full of coins. I decided to explore this dark and grisly folklore in a mico-fiction story set during the early Viking Age.

Recent Reads

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

From the Blurb:

“ The year is 1806. centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.”

My Review:

I recently read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by UK author Susanna Clarke. Despite my initial hesitation at the daunting and considerable detail and length of the novel, I found like those before me, these misgivings paled in comparison to the wonder of the book itself.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell follows two main protagonists in the early 1800s in their efforts to reinstate English magic. Both are talented magicians and while Mr Norrell asserts himself as England’s magician and hoards all books ever published of magic, he soon takes on an enterprising student in the gentleman Jonathan Strange. While Norrell is fearful of new things and sudden changes, Strange is his opposite. The two magicians serve the English parliament through their combined efforts to defend England and defeat Napoleon Bonaparte. However, Norrell can never shake his fear that Strange will better him and deliberate actions to undermine their trust and future partnership are laid down from the first. But the darkest secret of Norrell’s early magic that causes the greatest danger. In very early attempts to gain favour in London society, Norrell performed magic beyond his own talents by seeking the aid of a Faerie which he bound to himself as a servant. Norrell keeps this secret from Strange and much of English society even after the two magicians quarrel and the friendship is broken.

The following years of bitter rivalry between Strange and Norrell see the exploitation of both magicians’ greatest weaknesses. Norrell has his fear and paranoia played against himself and Strange has his arrogance and rashness turned against himself. Throughout it all, the beings of Faerie manoeuvre and plot to overthrow both magicians and so retain hold on the dominion of a Faerie kingdom. The final battle between Norrell and Strange becomes a partnership to save innocent mortals stolen into Faerie including Jonathan Strange’s wife.

Final Thoughts:

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a delightful and often dark tale, and a skilful alternate history of the Georgian era. The prose feels realistic as though truly compiled from Georgian authors. Despite the seemingly slower pace of the book’s action, the tone does not feel overburdened by it. High praise for the philosophical accounts, a detailed history and characters, and the introspection of morality led to a lingering sense of satisfaction, of closure, for the ending of the stand-alone novel.

My Conclusion?

Highly recommended for fans of alternate history, Gaslamp fantasies and gothic fantasies. Despite the daunting size of the book, it is a beautiful story, masterfully written and compelling. Well worth the read!

Recent Reads

The Crossing Places

From the Blurb:

“Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a prehistoric henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?

DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest. But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…”

My Review:

The Crossing Places (Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries, #1) by UK author Elly Griffiths is a crime thriller with a considerable difference. The protagonist is slightly awkward, overweight, nearing middle-aged female forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway who’s primary role is teaching and researching in Archaeology in the new university of North Norfolk, United Kingdom. The discovery of a body ritually displayed on the remote salt marshes near where Ruth lives soon brings local police detective Harry Nelson into Ruth’s sphere of work and life and his desperate search for the body of a child missing ten years, the case he cannot forget nor forgive himself for not solving.

The following events involve a series of archaeological investigations into the ritualised burial and likely sacrifice of the young girl whose remains Ruth discovers are not recent but from an Iron Age civilisation that built hedge sites and other ritual structures in the North Norfolk area during the Iron Age. For detective Harry Nelson, Ruth’s academic excitement in the Iron Age burial only saddens and frustrates him in the callousness of human nature, that centuries before, young girls were being ritually killed on the salt marshes. It seems Ruth and Harry have little in common except an interest to discover the fate of the respective young girls, one more recent, another from the Iron Age. But events quickly escalate with the new discovery of the Iron Age burial linking to a series of antagonistic letters detective Nelson has received over the ten years from the suspected killer, which now begin again in earnest along with another child abduction. When another child burial is found, Harry Nelson recruits Ruth to excavate and to provide her expertise on ritual sacrifices and Iron Age culture near the salt marshes. It is the beginning of a partnership and a case that focuses on the importance of the ‘crossing places’ to Iron Age belief systems, the role of landscapes which are neither shore nor sea, sky nor land.

Final Thoughts:

The Crossing Places was an enjoyable crime mystery, the combination of unlikely but personable characters, the depth of research into archaeological techniques and academic institutions gave the plot a sense of reality. The detailed research into Iron Age belief systems of ‘crossing places’, the importance of these liminal landscapes within our natural landscapes of land and sea contributed to a fascinating read.

My Conclusion?

A highly-recommended read for anyone who enjoys ancient history, crime or mystery, quirky and complex characters and archaeology.