Short Fiction, stories

Forthcoming: Gothic Legends Anthology

I am pleased to announce my short story “The Dark Horseman” will feature in forthcoming horror anthology Legends of Night to be published by Black Ink Fiction.

You can read more about the research behind the legend, folklore and history of the Dullahan, or the Irish headless horseman, here.

More details on preorder links, and how to purchase copies of Legends of Night coming soon!

reads, Recent Reads

Mongrels

Publisher’s Description:

“He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his aunt Libby and uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixed blood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrelsmust decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks.

For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and narrow escapes—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will finally know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast now. Everything is about to change.


Review:

One of my recent reads was Mongrels by US author Stephen Graham Jones. I am a fan of classic horror themes and for me, the werewolf is one of the best, but it is also one which I feel is less explored. Mongrels promises to make up for this, and does so, delivering an authentic werewolf story.

The protagonist and narrator remain unnamed throughout the story, but follows a pre-adolescent boy through to his late teens growing up in a family of werewolves. Although, he has not yet changed into a werewolf himself- we learn early that most werewolves are born human and only become shape-shifters usually around puberty – or sometimes, not at all. Following his grandfather’s death, the boy and his aunt and uncle take to the road, travelling across the Deep South of America, never staying long in most places.

Mongrels changes between the past, the boy’s childhood years and his lessons learned, and the adolescent years as he waits, and wonders – hopes even- that he will change into a werewolf, that the blood he sees as a link to family, to his aunt and uncle, his grandfather, will prove itself. This is an insightful look at family, heritage and the broken aspects of society where those like the werewolves, who long for the freedom are restrained by society and its expectations.

Final Thoughts:

Mongrels is an entirely new exploration of a classic monster from Horror fiction. The style of writing adds a beautiful, literary prose with the occasional bursts of graphic violence that both shock and deliver emphasis to the ‘reality’ of a horror story. Although narrated like a ‘coming of age’ story, Mongrels is much more than that, with the selection of fascinating characters and situations that propel the storyline forward across time and space of the characters’ lives. Combining the ‘bigger than big’ tales of legend with the character’s histories, the sense of reality and fiction blend seamlessly. Skilfully written, and entraining even when the plot feels like it’s drifting, it feels comfortable given the narration style.

Conclusion:

A highly recommended read for those who enjoy contemporary horror and dark fiction. Stephen Graham Jones provides a wonderful literary approach to the werewolf theme, re-making a classic monster into an entirely new and authentic concept. Cannot recommend highly enough!

reads, Recent Reads

Wait for Night

Publisher’s Description

A day laborer hired to clean up a flooded creek outside of Boulder, Colorado uncovers what could be a valuable find—if it doesn’t kill him first.


Review

Wait for Night is a novelette by US author Stephen Graham Jones. The story follows a day-labourer Chessup and a work crew cleaning up a flooded river site. After the day’s work, Chessup’s Buick won’t start and the last labourer on site, the mysterious and disfigured, Burned Dan offers to help re-start the car. But Chessup uncovers a skeleton in the roots of a tree, half-uncovered by the recent flood. Chessup makes a deal with Burned Dan to help restart the Buick but the sudden arrival of a county policeman begins a series of dangerous events when Chessup discovers the bones he had recovered hide a monstrous truth.

Final Thoughts

Wait for Night, although a shorter piece of long fiction as a novelette, it is a highly detailed character-driven story. The unusual take Graham Jones has on vampiric lore is another really interesting twist to this story. It is beautifully written, with the hallmark traits of Graham Jones’s writing style combining smooth storytelling punctuated by sudden action.

Conclusion

Wait for Night is highly recommended for fans of Stephen Graham Jones, those who enjoy dark fiction, detailed characters or anyone seeking a unique spin on vampire stories. A great read!

reads, Recent Reads

Whispers in the Dark

Publisher’s Description

Two decades into an eternal sentence in the impenetrable Void for daring to rebel against the might of the Empire, and Agent Ivory is ready to give up on life entirely, even if the unseen Warden of the prison won’t ever let him die.

But when a mysterious voice in the darkness visits him in his isolation, the prisoner is determined to see the sun on his face once again, even if the outside world is not what it once was…


Review

I recently read Whispers in the Dark by Australian author K.B. Elijah, a novella blending science-fiction and dark fiction.

The protagonist, Agent Ivory, has been imprisoned in an inescapable cell, his body held in stasis where he cannot die nor have hope of escape nor rescue. From these bleak beginnings, it is the promise of hope that proves the greatest torment to Agent Ivory. Despite the improbable, Agent Ivory escapes the prison known as the Void, aided by the whispering voice only he seems to hear. Guided on his escape, Ivory cannot shake his paranoid thoughts of pursuit, of hope dashed should he fail to escape and seek revenge for his imprisonment. It is this dark offering which the Void failed to crush, the promise of hope that will prove to be Agent Ivory’s greatest weapon or failure.

Final Thoughts

Whispers in the Dark was an intriguing psychological story combining elements of science fiction and dark fiction, exploring the strongest emotion in the darkness, is always hope.

Conclusion

A great novella from a new voice in Australasian speculative fiction. Recommended for those who enjoy a psychological read, literary tale where dark fiction blends into science fiction.

research, Short Fiction, Writing

Gothic Folklore of the Shipwreck Coast

In a recent story, I explored one of the worst shipwrecks that occurred off south-eastern Australia, a notorious stretch of coast known as the “shipwreck coast”. I have been fascinated by the history behind a treacherous, narrow bay, the Loch Ard Gorge named after the 1878 shipwreck of the Loch Ard merchant ship, one of the Australia’s deadliest shipwrecks, where only two survived from the 54 on board.

Loch Ard Gorge is located near Cape Otway on the south-eastern Australian coastline where the infamous southern Ocean has eroded the sandstone coastline creating many the natural rock formations including the ‘twelve apostles’ along the Great Australian Bight. This region is prone to storms and pounding surf from the Antarctic, and rich marine ecosystems of great white sharks, seals, whales, dolphins and many species of fish and other marine life. This thriving region is also home to more than two hundred shipwrecks during Australia’s colonial history, a short span of time compared to the sixty thousand years of indigenous occupation.

In writing my own fictionalised account of this historic event, I imagined a third survivor, one who fled England for Melbourne undetected, a damned soul for who must eventually pay their due. I was inspired and fascinated by the gothic folklore of the sea, damned sea voyages encapsulated in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Homer’s The Odyssey among others.

events, Short Fiction, Writing

Wrath Anthology Release


I am pleased to announce that the speculative fiction anthology Wrath (Seven Deadly Sins, #7) published by Black Hare Press was released on 30th April, 2021. The final instalment in the themed series based on the Seven Deadly Sins, short stories featuring in Wrath are all based on “Wrath: Manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.”

My short story “Them” explores the theme of Wrath in a dark fiction, delving into aspects of psychopathy and demonology. You can about my research for the story here.

If you would like to purchase ebook, paperback or hardback copies of Wrath (The Seven Deadly Sins, #7), more details can be found here.

events, Short Fiction, Writing

Death House Anthology Release


I am pleased to announce the release of horror anthology Death House published by Raven & Drake Publishing on 20 April , 2021. The anthology is inspired by the haunted houses theme, featuring my dark microfiction “Agnes House” inspired by true crime, horror elements and psychopathy.

If you are interested in purchasing a paperback, limited edition hardback or ebook copy of Death House, more details can be found here.

events, Short Fiction, Writing

Watch Anthology Release


I am pleased to announce that horror flash fiction anthology Watch (Five Hundred Fiction, #3) published by Black Hare Press was released on 20th April, 2021. This anthology is inspired by stalker themes, dark fiction and horror genres featuring my dark contemporary fantasy “The Eldritch Wood”.

If you are interested in purchasing an ebook, hardback or paperback copies of Watch (Five Hundred Fiction, #3) more details can be found here.

Short Fiction, Writing

Forthcoming: Vampire Anthology


I am very excited to be included in Bloodlust (Legends of Night Drabbles, #2) forthcoming in 2021 from Black Ink Fiction. This vampire Microfiction anthology will feature two of my 100 word drabbles inspired by vampiric lore, “The Hungering” and “The Burial”. You can read more about my research here.

Keep a watch for more details on release dates for Blood Lust (Legends of Night Drabbles, #2) coming in 2021.

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.