Birmingham Horror Con 2017

Yesterday I travelled to Edgbaston Cricket ground for Birmingham Horror Con with my buddy Stefan and his partner, Steph, and boy was it a lot of fun! Aside from the fact that I got to see my friends C L Raven again I met some awesome people who all seemed really nice. I brought a load more books, T-Shirts and some really cool artwork, as well as a couple of comics.

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My Swag From Birmingham Horror Con

One of the things I’ve loved most about the cons I’ve been to (DemonCon, Bristol Horror Con, and now Birmingham Horror Con) is how warm and welcoming these events are. I’ve not encountered any negativity from anyone. It just seems to be everyone there to enjoy themselves, which is really refreshing! In a world where there’s so much hatred and desire to stop other people enjoying themselves it’s something I’ve found to be really quite awesome.

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The Awesome Cat and Lynx Raven

As for Birmingham Horror Con, it was vibrant, full of great people selling their books, works of art, clothing, jewellery, and a tonne of other horror related merchandise. As I mentioned it was great to see Cat and Lynx Raven again, and spend a little time talking to them. It was also great chatting to Dave from From The Shadows, J.R. Park, Daniel Marc Chant and very briefly with Adam Nevill. This is where I fail a little. I need to get better at talking to people. I do have a shyness and I need to get over that. Just talking to the cosplayers and getting some photo’s of them would be great as well because they all looked so cool!

There’s another one later in the year, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get there for it but I’m going to try. I will definitely be there again next year because it was just so much fun.

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Interview with C L Raven

I first discovered Cat and Lynx Raven through our mutual friend Cinta Garcia de la Rosa and over the last few months in particular I’ve felt that I’ve gotten to know these two young ladies a little. Cat and Lynx are twins who combine to become the writer C L Raven. They also attempt to contact the dead with Calamityville Horror on their YouTube channel.

 

First of all, when did you start writing and was it something you’ve always wanted to do?

We started writing novels at 12 but we’d always loved creative writing in primary school. It’s something we’ve done every day since we were 12 but we hadn’t really considered doing it professionally. We had no idea how to make it happen.

As a writing duo, what is your writing process?

One of us writes 2 pages then we switch. It’s that simple. We don’t tell each other what we’ve done or what we think should happen.

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Do you ever have creative differences?

Luckily, no.

What part of the writing process do you find the most difficult?

Sometimes it’s actually getting the ideas. We don’t wait for the muse to appear – if we did, we wouldn’t write anything. Sometimes we’ll have a vague idea like ‘ghost ship’ or ‘plague doctor’ then just start typing but starting is the hardest part.

I think a question which a lot of writers hate is the ‘Where do you get your ideas from?” and I believe a better question is what would you say have been the biggest influences on your writing?

Weirdly it’s bands. My Chemical Romance and Green Day have influenced a lot of our stuff. MCR’s The Black Parade album makes our imaginations tingle.

Your book covers are fantastic and very memorable, did you create them or did you work with a cover artist and is there one that you are particularly fond of?

We have no artistic talent whatsoever! Nobody would be impressed at seeing stick people on book covers. We’ve used two cover artists, one (River Rose) who is an artist, rather than a cover artist. She painted Disenchanted’s cover in water colours and digitally painted Deadly Reflections. We’re in awe of her talent. Soul Asylum’s cover is actually a photo of Denbigh Asylum that we took ourselves. We did an 8 hour road trip for that photo. We don’t have a favourite cover.

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Speaking of fondness, is there one book or story that is special to you?

Soul Asylum will always be special to us. It’s our first published novel but it’s not the first novel we’ve written. Gunning Down Romance started us on our self-publishing journey so that one’s special too.

Most of your work is horror and I was wondering if you’ve written in other genres or would like to one day?

We spent most of our teenage years writing crime but they were always with serial killers who did elaborate murders. We found the murders were our favourite part so we stuck with the killers and got rid of the police. We’ve now branched into historical horror which we’re enjoying as it combines our love of history with our love of horror.

I’d like to talk about C.A.T.S. Calamityville Horror now, how did it come about?

Weirdly, that came about through writing. We’d written a novel about ghost hunters and thought we should get some experience, so we bought a book on haunted places in south Wales and dragged our mum along to visit them. Then we bought tickets for an overnight ghost tour in Ruthin Gaol. A lot of people were telling us to get on YouTube to promote ourselves, so we thought a ghost hunting show would be fun.

Have you found that ghost hunting has influenced your writing?

Yes – Deadly Reflections is a collection of ghost stories. Some were set in places we’ve visited or the stories are adapted from ghost stories we’ve found during research. And we now write articles about our ghost hunting for Haunted Digital Magazine. They found us through Calamityville and asked us to write for them.

I’ve learnt a lot about the histories of the places Calamityville has visited and I was wondering if there was something you discovered that you found particularly odd or surprising?

Ooh that’s a really good question. We haven’t been asked that before. A few times we’ve discovered that some of the ghost stories aren’t true and we find that disappointing. Most of the Skirrid Inn’s ghost stories or historical stories aren’t true. One of the oddest stories has to be Carew Castle – it’s haunted by a Barbury ape, Satan. His owner Roland had trained him to attack people and one night he attacked a Flemish tradesman. The next morning, Roland was found with his throat slit and the ape was dead in the fireplace.

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In the end credits of Calamityville there is the line ‘No C.A.T.S. were harmed in the making of this show’ Have you ever had to take that off due to an injury?

We’ve never taken it off, though we should as we have all picked up injuries on the show! We seem to be clumsier when there’s a camera pointed at us. Fortunately it’s mostly minor injuries that come from us messing around.

Can you tell me about The Animal Army, and are they part of a plan for world domination?

They’re a major part of the world domination plans. The cats are in charge of the whole thing. We have 4 cats – Spectre, Warlock, Ebony and the visiting stray, Mousaffa; 2 rabbits – Drogo and Ghost; an iguana, Kyler; a duck, Peking; a corn snake, Charlie; 4 African snails – Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia; and our new addition, a 6 month old Lurcher pup, Bandit. Most of our animals seem to be either rescue pets or unwanted pets.

What are you’re favourite Movies, TV Shows and Music?

Films – Nightmare Before Christmas. We love anything by Tim Burton and horror in general. We only own horror films. TV shows – Sleepy Hollow, Bones, Criminal Minds, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Grimm, Ghost Adventures. Music – My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Rise Against, Linkin Park.

And lastly, what has been the most pleasant surprise you’ve had since you published your first book?

That people actually read them and enjoy them. We’re used to just having our mum read them. And we got invited to read at a literary festival in East Budleigh, Devon. That was unexpected because we’re completely unknown. Best-selling crime writer Graham Hurley said we upstaged him. All we did was talk about failing to find Sir Walter Raleigh’s house, getting caught in a downpour and smelling of farm animals. People seemed to enjoy that.

Links:
http://www.clraven.wordpress.com
Twitter – @clraven @CalamityHorror
Facebook – C L Raven fan club https://www.facebook.com/pages/CL-Raven-Fanclub/117592995008142?ref=hl
Calamityville Horror fan page https://www.facebook.com/CatsTalesOfTerror?ref=hl

 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about these fantastic ladies. If you’d like to know more then please click on the links they’ve provided and explore their sites, their WordPress site is fantastic! Calamityville is a whole lot of fun to watch as well and I’ve enjoyed their fiction and I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

Looking Forward to October

This month I’m going to try really hard on getting myself organised. This is quite a big weakness of mine which I think I need to address. So each week I’m going to set out a time table for my time to write, and edit etc. As always with me it won’t be set in stone as life happens and I want to be able to be flexible.

One thing I do a lot is putting little snippets of information on the calendar on my phone. These could be pieces of dialogue or a random story idea, maybe world building details, things like that. I’ll set them on my phone so it reminds me to write them down on paper later that evening. I haven’t been doing this, I just keep rolling them over to another day. So I’m determined to break that habit.
There’s four weeks till NaNoWriMo starts and I want to have all these little notes that I’m rolling over written down and cleared.

Speaking of NaNo, I’ve settled on the idea I’m going to make into a story and I’ve got roughly how I’m going to lay it out in my head but I’m going to sit down tomorrow and really thrash it out. It’s a story I started a little while ago but that was when I’d have an idea and just start writing, and then run out of steam. Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve got a lot more ideas on how the story is going to go and some of the background details have filled themselves in nicely as well.
My protagonist is pretty clear in my head but I need to work on some of the support characters. They are what are concerning me most at the moment, but I’ll be able to flesh them out when I do my brainstorming.

Project Apollo is still being worked on. Me and Owen were supposed to meet up on Saturday just gone (28/9/13) but I was held up at work and by the time I had got home and cleaned out the henhouse I was just about done. So I text Owen and we set it back a week. We do have a draft done, but it has holes in it and needs strengthening in a few areas.

Project Peregrine is in Owen’s hands but as I’ve said this will probably be put to one side for the next year or so.

I said on Twitter and Facebook at the weekend that I am going to be releasing fiction next year, and I am. The first story is almost ready to go, I’m just waiting on Beta readers and after that its just a case of saving up some cash for the cover art. Then I will let it loose into the world. This both excites and scares the hell out of me but I’m guessing the first is always the hardest and, to be honest, I love the story I’ll be releasing. It’s only a short story but it’s one of my favourites and the people who have read it have said its very good, but that’s next year. I’m focussing on what I need to do for the rest of this year now 🙂

A Sunday Morning Ramble

It’s Sunday morning and I’m awake before 8am :-/

So I thought I’d write a blog post, seeing as I advent done it for a few days. So here’s a little update on where my writing endeavours are currently at.

Project Apollo is moving along nicely. I started typing up the hand written chapters that wrap up the end of the novella on Monday and I got around 500 words done both Monday and Tuesday nights. I was absolutely shattered Wednesday after a busy day at the day job so I took a night off. Then Thursday and Friday I knocked out just over 1100 words on both days. I have also been doing more handwritten parts for the story as well. There are a number of plot holes we have which need a bit of attention so I have been working on those as well. This has been good because I’ve got my head truly into one of the characters who, although only has a few small parts in the book, they are rather important.

Owen and I have a lot of plans for this universe so we’re trying to bear that in mind as we write this. Each story will be a stand alone story but each will tie into the universe that will be launched by Project Apollo. I really want to tell you all more but Owen will kill me so I’m going to keep quiet. I am going to say that even when we have this one well locked down I’m not sure when it’ll be released. As this is going to be the first of what will hopefully be many stories in this universe we want to get a couple of stories written and locked down before we start releasing them and I really want to find an artist who not only me and Owen click with but will be happy to do all the art work for this universe so although each cover will be different they will all be similar. There’s a couple other little signature things I want to include in the artwork, so that will take a little time.

This brings me onto a topic I do want to discuss quickly and that is when I publish something, whether its a solo project or something with Owen or Chrystalyn I want it to be as tidy as I/we can make it before it goes live. I know it’s all but impossible to publish something perfectly, hell even the big publishers have typos in what they release but I’m going to try to make sure it’s all but spot on.
I have great Beta Readers who will pull me on anything that is not right with something that I write so I have no excuses there.

Right, back to state of play, all other projects are on the back burner till this draft of Apollo is done although I am still having ideas which are being noted down as they pop into my brain so Im not going to run out of anything to write for a while.

I do know what I want to work on once this draft is finished so thoughts of that are creeping into my mind but I’m writing them down and forgetting about them because Apollo needs to be wrapped up.

Book Review: Blood In The Past by Jordanna East

I’m just posting a quick book review here tonight as I want to get stuck into a bit more writing tonight.

 

Blood In The Past by Jordanna East  is a prelude novella which tells the story of three people who’s lives cross over during times of personal suffering. Jillian falls for a married man. Lyla finds her mother dead and a young man has to deal with the loss of his father.

I couldn’t put this novella down. The story sucked me into it to the point where I was staying up late to read more of it. The characters have a lot of layers to them and I found that I could understand their pain and why they were doing what they were.

The story is well tied together and never feels rushed which I liked because each character had a good amount of time for me to get to know them. Sometimes in shorter pieces I’ve found that characters or the story do not get the attention that they deserve. Here that is not the case. The level of detail is very good as well. Jordanna East must have done a lot of research for this novella and she lays it onto the page in a way that comes through as very convincing. I learnt a fair bit from it.

As for the actual writing it is incredibly well written. If I had not of known I would never have guessed this is Jordanna East’s debut. I’ll go as far to say its better written then some bestsellers I have read. Her way with words is pure beauty.

I cannot wait for more of Ms. East’s work to be released.

 

Please consider clicking on the link to Jordanna East’s blog below. There she writes some interesting posts and she also has a link to purchase the novella if you like the look of it (in the U.K. it’s less then £2)

 

http://jordannaeast.com/

That Felt Good :)

Tonight has been the first night that I’ve managed to add a big chunk of text to Project Apollo, and it felt GOOD 🙂 so far I have just been able to add a bit here, a bit there and tidying up the grammar etc. which is essential but I’ve also got to add in sections that me and Owen have discussed and tonight I got to a part where it was time to start adding. Now, it was only 774 words but that’s the most words I’ve written in one go for far too long.
This year I have spent so much time editing I had forgotten how much I love the act, the art of just writing and this was only a drop in the ocean.
Tomorrow I’m off to the cinema but I will do a little more afterwards then on Wednesday I may be off to see Tracie but if I’m not then it’ll be a night focused on writing.

I’m really excited by this project and have been for a while, it’s good to finally be getting stuck into it.

As I finish watching Prometheus I’m going to do a little research, and then bed 🙂

Goooooooooood Morning Monday!

It’s Monday morning people, lets try and break that concept that Mondays are bad. They’re not, it’s the start of a new week and I believe we should be looking at the unlimited potential that this day holds. All we have to do is find our own ways to tap it.
Stuff New Years resolutions make a start today. Have you ever wanted to write a book? Grab a pen and paper and start writing. Do you dream of having your artwork displayed in public? Grab a pencil and start drawing. Quite smoking? Start today!

Everyone hates Mondays because its traditionally the start of the working week, but we can change that. When our dreams are almost within our grasp we can look back to this day and think to ourselves, This started on a Monday.