Shadows at the Door. Artwork by Abigail Larson Image courtesy of Shadows at the Door
Hello, all. I am very excited to share this with you. The Shadows At The Door Anthology, which features one of my stories, is having a book launch party! The launch is taking place in the UK at Newcastle Castle on the 19th of November starting at 6.30pm.
Regrettably I can’t be there in person but some of the other writers from the anthology will be, and I’ll be there in spirit (no pun intended). I will be online that night sharing any updates that come through from the launch.
This is the blurb for the night’s event:
“To celebrate the launch of ‘Shadows at the Door’ a collection of original ghostly horror edited by Mark Nixon, the Moss Troopers will host a night of ghoulish terror at the Black Gate!
Seven of the authors of stories from the book will be present to start the night with a panel discussion along with illustrator Barney Bodoano.
The Moss Troopers will then present a series of eerie stories of all things that go bump in the night, including a reading of Quem Infra Nos, Mark Nixon’s sinister tale of what lies below Durham Cathedral…
So for those of you we haven’t seen for a while, come on down to the Castle – what’s the worst that could happen?
We will have refreshments on sale, and for those whose bones are truly chilled, the Black Gate is surprisingly warm and cosy for a medieval gatehouse…
Authors that will be with us:
Pete Alex Harris
And illustrator Barney Bodoano”
So, if you are in the Newcastle area I know my fellow authors would love to see you at the launch. This is my first anthology project and I’m very excited to see it released to readers.
One day, when browsing in a book shop, I discovered the British Library Crime Classics series. Yes, the British Library has reissued a collection of crime stories from bygone days. I read a lot of Agatha Christie when I was younger so I decided to give this collection a go. I have bought a few from the series and, apart from the Christmas short story collection – Silent Nights- this is the first one I’ve read.
Briefly, the story is set around the opening night of a new musical “Blue Music”. On stage in front of the entire audience on opening night, an actor, instead of just pretending to get shot, is actually shot- dead.
I’m not sure how I feel about Quick Curtain to be honest. It was light-hearted, (you know, for a story that contains a murder), and there is some nice quirky banter. However, you do wonder how the detective ever solves any crimes. He and his amateur assistant, in this case his journalist son, seem a bit absent-minded and slightly incompetent; but this is meant as a humorous novel so that’s alright as far as it goes. I found it amusing in places with some interesting character observations.
For me, what let it down was the ending. It didn’t feel satisfying. It didn’t feel true or convincing, which you expect, even in a book with an element of tongue in cheek spoof about it. I don’t want to give anything away so I wont comment on why it felt unconvincing. I can see what the writer might have been trying to accomplish and it’s an interesting take but for me it doesn’t quite work as it is.
All in all, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. It’s a bit of a light-hearted adventure. It’s a nice casual read but ultimately a little let down by an ending that could have been managed better.
Hello all! I have just received word that the hardback edition of the Shadows At The Door anthology project, of which I am part, is now available to pre-order. This is a project I’m really excited about.
So if you’d like more information or to grab your copy of the creepy goings on over at Shadows At The Door just follow the link
Or if you would like to revisit my interviews with some of the authors you can do so here
A while back I was browsing through the list of Penguin’s little black classics when I came across Lot No.249 by Arthur Conan Doyle. It wasn’t one I was familiar with. It was described as the first story to feature a supernatural mummy. Not being overly familiar with mummy literature, excepting the ring of Thoth, also by Conan Doyle and of a different variety, the mummy not being the supernatural element, when I was obliged to buy some books for my next course I decided to treat myself to this one at the same time; well it would be rude not to. For £1 it seemed worth a try.
The story centres around three students who occupy rooms in a secluded part of their college. Life is quiet until a series of strange occurrences begin to take place on campus.
The story is dramatic with moments of tense and atmospheric action. There is also the traditional element of an unbeliever finding the truth thrust upon him.
Yes, to the modern reader the plot may feel familiar and obvious but for the first mummy story of its kind I can imagine this was something of a spine chiller back in the day.
It is as well written as we have come to expect from a Conan Doyle story and I found it to be a fun, quick read. Being a Little Black Classic this was short but sweet and well worth the investment of £1 to discover a new (to me) Conan Doyle horror and one of the best of his that I’ve read in this genre so far.
When I bought Marina I also bought The Watcher In The Shadows by the same author. In some respects this book is similar to Marina, in that it is a young adult book dealing with the loss of childhood innocence and the move towards adulthood. In fact the theme of loss is present throughout this book in one form or another.
In summer 1937, following the death of her father, young Irene and her family move to the coastal village of Blue Bay, where her mother goes to work as housekeeper for retired toy maker Lazarus Jann.
Jann is a recluse who lives locked away in his mansion surrounded by bizarre mechanical toys. When Irene meets Ismael together they begin to uncover the mystery behind the abandoned lighthouse that overlooks Blue Bay and Lazarus Jann’s secret past.
The Watcher in The Shadows creates the feel of an idyllic, beautiful, long summer. But as this is a gothic horror things soon take a darker turn. You feel the shattering of the characters’ dreams. This book is both beautiful and sad. It takes the idea of the shadows of your past controlling your life and weaves it throughout the book, creating a kind of gothic tapestry of loss and survival. There is also a strong sense of foreboding that is ever present.
I got the sense from The Watcher in The Shadows of the characters learning that it’s those sometimes brief and fleeting moments of happiness that they carry with them that get them through all the darkness. There is a definite air of hope at the end.
Like Marina, The Watcher in The Shadows is aimed at young adults, but as an adult I found plenty to enjoy in this book. I can only hope that young adults are reading books like this. A nice introduction to the genre.