Women in Horror Month

It’s time to celebrate the 10th year of Women in Horror Month. Many may not have heard of it. Others may question why it’s necessary. Women writing horror are often under appreciated. Alas, it remains a fact some women and men writing certain genres are more likely to be passed over. Men have often written under female pseudonyms because of the perception men could not write good quality fiction in genres such as romance. In the world of horror the same mistaken impression often applies to women. I’ve heard the most common accusation being that women ‘hold back’ when writing anything bleak or nasty, a claim I refute. It’s a perception error that means many excellent authors risk being overlooked.

To those who’ve read my softer titles my interest in horror may come as a surprise. My appreciation began with the first horror book I found hidden away on my parents’ bookcase — books shoved together in no particular order, which to a booklover is next to sacrilege, but its odd, all black cover drew my attention. Had it not I may never have come across Stephen King’s SALEM’S LOT. The black cover revealed an embossed face with a single spot of red: the tongue. I’ve never seen this edition since.

I was of an age where I wasn’t supposed to read such a book so I squirrelled it away, read it under the covers, took it to school where no one ever asked what I was reading. Next I discovered James Herbert’s THE RATS trilogy and did nothing to hide my choice. In my teens I was reading Mills & Boon’s (because it’s what all the other girls read) along with John Steinbeck, Stephen King, and James Herbert. I’ve never looked back. My interest has wavered somewhat — I remember a period where I favoured fantasy — and I admit my reading activities have always been eclectic so my choices remain diverse, but the writing I love the most always seems to carry a dark thread. Though I’ve yet to finish writing my first horror novel, most of my short story work carries this darkness. As to why horror appeals to so many I’ve my own theories I may address sometime but not today in this blog. Today I want to raise a toast to all the women who work and promote in the horror field. Join us. Buy a book by a female horror writer this month.

Dark Poetry

Dark fiction doesn’t have to only mean stories. I’ve dabbled with poetry occasionally but not written much for several years. Still, whenever I’ve crossed my dark fiction with what poetry skills I have there’s no denying one improves the other.

Of course, this type of playing with words is nothing new. We can thank Poe for creating one of the most famous pieces of dark poetry.

Could there be a better voice to read this to you than Christopher Lee?

 

Though if you’d prefer some graphics:

A Very Private Haunting

Shipping soon, what Candy Jar call my ‘spooky opener’ for series five. Yeah, I guess it is. Even when a foray into the world of Lethbridge-Stewart I couldn’t help that dark side peaking out.

Get your orders in for this limited edition (with extended short story) before it sells out!

A Very Private Haunting sees Arthur Penrose finally take ownership of a Scottish manor house that’s been in his family for generations. There are many secrets in the house, but what connects them to the mysterious shadow creatures that Lethbridge-Stewart and his men are investigating?


For a reduced price you can receive the following three books before general release in 2018:

A Very Private Haunting by Sharon Bidwell
The New Unusual by Adrian Sherlock & Andy Frankham-Allen
The Man from Yesterday by Nick Walters

Lethbridge-Stewart Series Five Announced

PRESS RELEASE 18/09/2017

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART
SERIES FIVE ANNOUNCED

 

Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce the latest titles in its Lethbridge-Stewart range of novels are now available for pre-order!

Series five opens with The New Unusual by first-time novelist, Adrian Sherlock, who wrote the short story, The Playing Dead, in 2016.

It is followed by A Very Private Haunting by Sharon Bidwell, who is no stranger to writing novels, with quite a resume behind her, including the Lethbridge-Stewart short story, The Wishing Bazaar in 2016.

The series is wrapped off with The Man from Yesterday, by popular novelist Nick Walters, who returns with his much-anticipated second novel in the Lethbridge-Stewart series, following 2015’s Mutually Assured Domination.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “It’s quite an exciting series, with three very distinctively different stories. Each explores very different aspects of the Lethbridge-Stewart universe. A New-Age thriller taking the team to Australia, a ghost story set in and around a haunted manor, and an all-out adventure which pits very branches of Lethbridge-Stewart’s family against each other.”

The New Unusual sees our heroes being drawn to Australia after investigating strange goings-on at dream-ins, mysterious new age gatherings in which people explore their deepest desires through eggs of alien origin. This book features the return of Lethbridge-Stewart’s nephew, Owain.

A Very Private Haunting sees Arthur Penrose finally take ownership of a Scottish manor house that’s been in his family for generations. There are many secrets in the house, but what connects them to the mysterious shadow creatures that Lethbridge-Stewart and his men are investigating?

The Man from Yesterday sees Lethbridge-Stewart learn the truth behind his father’s disappearance at the end of World War II, when aliens arrive on Earth from a mysterious region of space known only as the Realm. This book features the return of Lethbridge-Stewart’s brother from another reality, James Gore, and his father, Air Commander Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart!

Andy continues: “This series of books sees our lead characters, in particular Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers, dealing with the fallout from the losses they suffered in series four. The series ends on something of a cliffhanger, which will have repercussions for the series as a whole for a long time.”

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell says: “Series five is the last in the ongoing series for a while, as next year we’re stepping out of the usual narrative to present a special series of novels celebrating fifty years of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers.”

The New Unusual, A Very Private Haunting and The Man from Yesterday are all available for individual pre-order now, for £8.99 (+ p&p). Or you can pre-order them as part of the discounted UK bundle for only £26.25 (including postage), saving £9.72, or an international bundle for only £45.00 (including postage), saving £5.97. Or, you can buy it as part of our yearly subscription offer. Order early to avoid disappointment.

http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/nightoftheintelligence.html

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www.candyjarbooks.co.uk

 

For more information, or to arrange an interview with the editor, authors, cover artist and/or license holder, please contact Shaun Russell at shaun@candyjarbooks.co.uk or 02921 15720

 

 

 

 

 

Previous series:

Lethbridge-Stewart series 1:
The Forgotten Son by Andy Frankham-Allen
The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee
Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen
Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters

Lethbridge-Stewart series 2:
Moon Blink by Sadie Miller
The Showstoppers by Jonathan Cooper
The Grandfather Infestation by John Peel

Lethbridge-Stewart series 3:
Times Squared by Rick Cross
Blood of Atlantis by Simon A Forward
Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin

Lethbridge-Stewart series 4:
Night of the Intelligence by Andy Frankham-Allen
The Daughters of Earth by Sarah Groenewegen
The Dreamer’s Lament by Benjamin Burford-Jones

 

Experience something bitter, something intoxicating

2011? How was this 2011? Seems like yesterday and still one of my favourite stories because I got the writing and story just as I wanted. Thinking of including it in a collection.

I also remember sshhhing the husband while putting on the final polish.

My inspiration was the title of the anthology and the ‘Green Muse’ painting by French history painter and illustrator, Albert Pierre René Maignan.

***

Bitter and Intoxicating

Émile beheld the rough lines of age and labour in the hand before him. The network of passing years bisected by a scar and punctuated by torn cuticles threatened to entrap him in a labyrinth of wanting. If only he could capture the essence of that hand, the person it belonged to, in a drawing.

Where the Spirit of the Wolf and the Fox meet

That is in my short story ‘The Wolf Moon’ and ‘Fox Spirit’ books in their anthology ‘Winter Tales’, which appeared early 2016. When I saw the submission call, I instantly knew which story to send. ‘The Wolf Moon’ is one of a body of work, thirteen short tales based around a theme, equally possible to read independently (I’ve published more than one with magazines), but would make an eerie collection. Fox Spirit was the perfect match for ‘The Wolf Moon’ one of the last written in an project that’s taken me a few years from conception to completion.

Shortlisted for the Best Indie Press twice by the British Fantasy Society, Fox Spirit’s mission statement summarises the belief that day to day life lacks a number of things, namely the fantastic, the magical, mischievous and a touch of the horrific. They aim to produce books ‘full of wonder and mischief delivered with a sharp bite’. My short story definitely applies and I couldn’t ask for a better springboard for a ‘Kernow’ tale.

Diana may or may not be a hunter, but Gabriel is no angel.

Excerpt:

Minutes ticked by, the hush fragmented by whispers. The door creaked open, muzzling free expression. Diana became aware of a large presence, prodigious in stature, colossal in self-possession. The longing to look was almost too much for her, made more difficult by other people’s reactions. The tide parted, made way for the newcomer even if that meant they must move closer to her.

Carver suddenly had a dilemma. He stopped in mid-flow on his way to her, gaze darting from the man standing in front of him and down to the end where Diana stood controlling the urge to smirk. He compromised—shoved her goods into the hands of his helper, nodded to the new arrival, and hurried out back to get whatever he’d come for. Diana took her time placing the items in her basket, although there were only two, and only the small sack of flour was cumbersome. As she turned to leave she tried to make the act of lifting her head look natural, the direction of her gaze an accident or coincidence.

See me.

By wish or bewitchment, he did. Man and woman gazed at each other. She saw blue eyes so bright as to illuminate the darkness like moonlight, a head of shaggy peppered hair, dark stubble along a strong jaw, and muscle. Hunter and hunted. Diana suppressed a shudder.

Without pause, she completed the turn and headed to the door. Remarks followed.

‘Witch,’ one woman said, following up her pronouncement with spittle. Diana smirked at the thought of Carver having to wash the floor, ignored her, and enjoyed the woman’s confusion.

‘Those raised by wolves should stay in the wild,’ another said. Diana agreed and breathed in relief as the cold of the day held out its welcoming arms. She plunged into snow and freedom.

***

Frost pierces through everything. Your bones ache in the icy wind. Harsh winter storms rage and the sun is leaving, not to return for many months. The cheerful men arriving to the mountain bothy in the midst of the winter storm, why do they unnerve you so much? The hunter who follows after you on your way home from the store, what does he hunt? The old neighbour lady seems so innocent, but you know the truth: you saw her that night. Why will the police not listen to you?

Dark, grim, beautiful and grotesque. We are delighted to bring you a collection of speculative winter stories and poems from new and established writers. The collection is edited by Margret Helgadottir. Winter Tales released early 2016 from Fox Spirit Books.

Cover art is by S.L. Johnson