Good Morning, Sunday 4th of August 2019

Good morning, folks! I hope you’re all doing well? I am a little tired. It’s been a busy weekend so far. Out with my girlfriend on friday night for a meal and a little shopping and then yesterday afternoon and evening I was in Whitstable with my Burdizzo Books family. We took over the beer garden of The Prince Albert pub (very nice pub by the way), and sat and drank (I was on the soft drinks as I’m not much of a drinker, and was driving back), and talked. I’m a big advocate of writers getting out and talking to other writers. Being a little socially awkward and nervous I can find this hard at times, but aside from Christopher Law and Jonathan Butcher I’d met everyone who was there and have had conversations with both Jonathan and Christopher via social media.

It was a good few hours of laughing and talking about everything and anything. There was no attitudes or egos. No dramas or general idiotness. It was just a group of friends who hadn’t seen each other in too long and was a super good time. These people are my tribe. I rarely feel more comfortable in a group of people than when I’m with my horror community, and when I’m with people from this group in particular, I feel like I belong. Now for me that’s a big thing. I do have a few social anxieties. I rarely feel as comfortable as I am with these folks. Not once last night did I feel out of place or that I didn’t belong. It was great. It does make me sad that we can’t do this more often, but I think we’ll be making it an annual thing.

In an hour or so I’m off to a Write-In for my local NaNoWriMo group. Although I’m a touch tired, I’m looking forward to that.

I’ll pop up word counts later on this afternoon as I don’t have them to hand at the moment.

Have a great day, folks!

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Em Dehaney, Matthew Cash, Me!, Sam Jewiss, Linda, Jonathan Butcher, and Christopher Law.

Top Ten Of The Year 2018

Here is my Top Ten Books Of 2018. These aren’t books that were released in 2018, they’re the ones that I read. Some of them I have reviewed and will link in those reviews with the respective books.

Going off my Goodreads challenge I read forty-nine books in 2018. I had a few moments during the year where I was finding it hard to read so hopefully this year I’ll hit and pass the fifty books I’ve set in my challenge for 2019.

Lets get stuck in to the list:

Number Ten: Off Season By Jack Ketchum

I brought this one on audio after Jack Ketchum sadly passed away. I’d heard about him and an interview with him on The Horror Show With Brian Keene podcast. It was a choice between Off Season and The Girl Next Door. I kinda tossed a coin and went with Off Season which I’m really happy with, although The Girl Next Door will be checked out this year. Off Season is a fantastic tale that isn’t scared to give gut punches and as a reader you take it because Ketchum writes the story beautifully and you just keep turning the pages, or listening in my case.

Number Nine: The Malignant Dead by CL Raven

The Malignant Dead brought tears to my eyes but it also made me laugh. That’s something CL Raven do, they flip that coin really well and The Malignant Dead does that very well. They also transport you into the city of Edinburgh beautifully, you feel you are there and can easily picture these characters in these locations. It is a heartbreaking story but thats because CL Raven bring these characters to life so thoroughly.

Number Eight: Forest Underground by Lydian Faust

This was one I went into without no real knowledge of it. I’d seen people speaking nothing but good things about it and I saw that Pippa Bailey was the narrator of the audio book. I’d met Pippa at the launch of the Sparks anthology that we both have stories in and I wanted to support her as well. The story itself is two that are woven together very well and gives a great outcome at the end of the book, but it still left me wanting more. The characters keep you guessing and there were a few moments where I wasn’t sure what one characters reality was.

Number Seven: White by Tim Lebbon

White was a fun and fast story to read. Tim Lebbon gives a very tight and well told story of an apocalypse that has left people stranded and how these people deal with their plight. The bleakness of this one struck me. If something is bleak it doesn’t tend to get my attention but Tim Lebbon puts in just enough hope to keep that bleakness at bay.

Number Six: The Log House by Baylea Hart

I first heard of The Log House while at Bristol Horror Con in 2017. Baylea Hart was on a panel and gave a brief description of her book and it sounded good. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a post-apocalyptic story which has a protagonist who I didn’t like as a person, but I was quickly hooked on the journey she was taking and the world she was part of and what happened in the characters past. Baylea Hart builds a world that is very seductive and easy to fall into.

The author who I read the most in 2018 was Brian Keene: City of the Dead, The Complex, Ghoul and Dark Hollow.

Number Five: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

Where do I start with Billy and the Cloneasaurus? In my review I said it was 1984 meets The Lego Movie, and I still stand by that. It’s got this optimism to it that masks the real problems. This book had me hooked from the first sentence. It’s got a great energy to it, and has left a lasting impression on me. Even if the ending was a kick in the gut!

Number Four: Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

There are so many reasons why Dark Hollow spoke to me. From how the story is structured and paced to the multiple conflicts of the protagonist. Brian Keene really does build this character beautifully and its also very raw in many places. I’d recommend reading this one and then listening to an episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene were he talks about this story. The big bad of this story is something I’d not come across before and found it fascinating. This is another story where the ending was a blow to the gut. So far it’s my favourite Brian Keene story.

Number Three: What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher

Okay, where do I start with What Good Girls Do? Like Forest Underground I went into this one blind. Part of it was I saw it was getting a lot of praise, another part is again I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the narrator, Tara Court, and wanted to show some support to her. Another part was it’s a The Sinister Horror Company book, like Forest Underground and I was impressed with that one. So I went in blind. This is the most brutal book, movie, tv show, that I’ve even consumed. It doesn’t hold back and deals with a topic that most people blatantly ignore. Those who do know about it don’t want to talk about it. Jonathan Butcher doesn’t baulk with this story, and in lesser hands I think it would have been a disaster. But Butcher handles such a delicate topic with a skill that I think few have. This is a fantastic book, but not one I’d say I enjoyed but. It is one I’m pleased I listened to because it is so beautifully written and deals with something I think we as a society need to be more aware of.

Number Two: The Human Santapede by Adam Millard

A big change of pace from What Good Girls Do, we have The Human Santapede by Adam Millard. This is a book I find myself reluctant to talk too much about because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. All I’ll say is Santa has a problem and sends an elf off to figure out the mystery. Adam Millard goes full speed with this one. It’s like he wanted to write the most out there Christmas book ever and had fun while doing it. I think I laughed at something on every page! This was definitely the funniest book I read in 2018, probably ever. If you want a giggle, buy this book!

Number One: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Here we are, number one in my top ten of 2018. I brought The Silence on audiobook when I learnt there was going to be a movie of it and I wanted to check the book out first. This book rattled me. There was three distinct moments where I had to hit pause and stop listening to it for that day. I think part of the reason it struck me so hard was because it is set in the UK and peoples reaction to the threat in the story felt very real. It is strikingly well written with very real characters whose pain you feel as they make their journey. It’s written with a skill that I admire. Lebbon tears the lives of these characters apart with such a deft hand that it’s still brutal but the build up to the hardness of the story is as smooth as silk and this brings you into these moments without missing a beat. Its become an instant favourite of mine, I even brought a paperback which I’ve gotten signed.

There it is, my top ten books of 2018. 2018 was the first year I really started reading horror and it was quite a year. Lets see how 2019 compares.

Just to wrap up the post I wanted to give a few honourable mentions. If this had been the best fifteen books of 2018 these would have made the list.

In no particular order:

Bleeding Empire- CL Raven

Aliens:Bug Hunt- Edited by Jonathan Maberry

Fur- Matthew Cash

IT- Stephen King

Never Forget- Lisa Cutts

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Fur by Matthew Cash

Fur tells the story of a group of pensioners who have their worlds turned upside down by a revelation that one of their number isn’t what they seem.

This book I really enjoyed. There is a pretty broad group of characters that have their own identities and motivations. The core group of senior citizens pretty much all have something about them that made me like them, with one exception. That one exception, causes their lives in a small town to change massively and the journey Matthew Cash takes is on with them is at times hard to take, infuriating at others, and heart warming in places. I felt the love many characters had for each other, even in some unexpected cases.

I couldn’t guess how it was going to end, and even as it was coming to its conclusion I still couldn’t peg how Matthew Cash was going to wrap it all up. I like how he did, even with part of it coming out of the blue somewhat.

Please check Fur by Matthew Cash out. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Thomas Bestwick. Bestwick did a fantastic job with a narration that had multiple accents in as well as getting some real heart and emotion into the sorry as a whole.

I’d also recommend reading the prequel story Werwolf also by Matthew Cash. You can see my review for it here.

Book Review: Werwolf by Matthew Cash

Werwolf is a very tight, well structured, and gripping read. The setting is quickly established. The characters motivations are in some cases presented clearly while others are subtle and not explained but reading between the lines and knowing a little of the era this is set in it doesn’t take much to make a decent guess.

One characters motivation kept me guessing till the last moment.

I’ll be start the novel FUR after this as I’m keen to see more of this world.

New Release: Under The Weather

Under the Weather from Burdizzo Books and Back Road Books is now out in ebook  and paperback.

In this weather-themed anthology we have stories from C.H. Baum, David Court, Paul M. Feeney, Paul Hiscock, Kitty Kane, Dave Jeffery, James Jobling, Lex H. Jones, Christoper Law, Adam Millard, Dale Robertson, Nathan Robinson, Phil Sloman, Mark Woods, and myself.

It’s compiled and edited by Matthew Cash, Em Dehaney, James Jobling, and Jeremy Peterson.

When I saw the call for this anthology it really ignited my imagination. I think I had a good half a dozen decent story ideas which after brainstorming I got it down to one that really hooked me and I had a lot of fun with. (I’ve since written another short story from elements of one of those ideas).

This is a charity anthology, so all the proceeds go to Resources For Autism.

So, Please check this anthology out. I’ve put UK and USA Amazon Links at the bottom of this post so please check this one out.

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Under The Weather UK

Under The Weather USA

 

New Release Coming: Under The Weather

Under the Weather from Burdizzo Books and Back Road Books will be released on the 26th of August 2018.

Featured in this anthology are: C.H. Baum, David Court, Paul M. Feeney, Peter Germany, Paul Hiscock, Kitty Kane, Dave Jeffery, James Jobling, Lex H. Jones, Christopher Law, Adam Millard, Dale Robertson, Nathan Robinson, Phil Sloman, and Mark Woods.

It is compiled and edited by Matthew Cash, Em Dehaney, James Jobling, and Jeremy Peterson.

All the proceeds go to Resources for Autism.

Please look out for my story ‘The Snow’ in this anthology. I’m really excited about this anthology, it has such an amazing line-up and I can’t wait to see what stories they’ve crafted for this weather-themed anthology.

Under The Weather is available for Pre-Order so please pop over to Amazon and check it out.

Book Review: Why Can’t I Be You? By Matthew Cash

This short had an interesting story that it told, one that I could see having a foundation of truth to these groups and how toxic I’d imagine some can be.

Matthew Cash paces this one well, and although I’d have liked a little more detail and background here and there it does move along at a healthy pace, that more of that detail and background might have disrupted.

I really enjoyed how the ending played out and was written, anytime a writer can make me go ‘ewwww’ is always a win for me.

Overall, this is short, and fun, with just a pinch of brutal to balance it out.