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.
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.
Marina is a gothic story aimed at young adults. I didn’t know it was young adult when I bought it but that never worried me. I’m OK with a teenage protagonist if the story is good.
The story centres around young Oscar Drai who meets a mysterious girl called Marina. One day Marina takes Oscar to a graveyard where they witness a woman dressed in black lay a single red rose on a grave whose headstone bears no name, only the emblem of a black butterfly. They decide to follow her. From there onwards they are dragged into a dark vein of the cities forgotten past.
I enjoyed Marina. It’s a quick read and doesn’t hold back on the emotion just because it’s a young adult book. There are two stories at play in the book; there is the main gothic adventure and the story of Oscar and Marina’s growing relationship. You get the feeling of a character waking out of childhood into an adult world where he’s having to face up to the frailty of life, human weaknesses and fear and how those things can easily lead you into darkness. You know at the end of the book that he can never go back to being the boy he was at the beginning.
I know some people dislike the way Ruiz has a habit of writing big sections of back-story being relayed by one character to another but personally I feel he does this pretty well. I didn’t feel like there was too much putting the story on pause to fill in the back-story. I don’t recall it happening at moments of immediate action. It felt quite natural, and one character sitting down to tell another character their back-story isn’t exactly a new contrivance.
Without giving too much away, the end of this story is heart-breaking. I say this even though I could see it coming. I don’t know whether it was expected that younger readers wouldn’t pick up on it so soon (which I doubt), or whether we are supposed to see it coming and therefore have more sympathy for Oscar who clearly doesn’t. Either way, it was very emotional.
The reason I gave this 4 stars rather than 5 on Goodreads is because I felt there were some elements of the story that were not brilliantly explained, and not in a mysterious ambiguous sense; it just felt a bit unclear. Also I didn’t like the decision two characters made on the train platform at the end of the book. I can understand why they would make that decision but to me it would have felt more natural for them to decide the other way. But it’s the kind of situation everyone deals with differently. I don’t want to spoil anything so that’s all I’m saying!
All in all, a nice piece of accessible gothic horror that can introduce young adults to the genre and also engaging enough to appeal to adults. And if it is a consideration for you, it had a gorgeous cover.
One side note, there are parts of this book that remind me very much of one of the classic books of the gothic genre; I wont say which, but there is a character whose name greatly resembles that of its author. I wonder if this was an intentional nod. I do hope so.