Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Peculiar County - smack dab in the middle of October Country- with Stuart R. West



 
  Stuart R. West has the knack of keeping me entertained, not only with his creepy characters and storylines, but with the humour he injects into his stories. Here he talks about his latest - Peculiar County, where the creepiest things have a habit of happening....

 Peculiar County is not only the name of my new nostalgic ghost tale, it’s an October state of mind. It doesn’t matter where you live, Peculiar County can sort of creep up on you, kinda like a shadow that shouldn’t be moving of its own volition. You’ll know when you’ve been plunged deep into Peculiar County, the signs are many: falling leaves the color of fire; the crisp, brisk breath of air that teases ill omens; darkness so thick you’re tempted to take an axe to it to loosen an impossible ray of sunshine.

It’s a time and place where witches run the local library, a boy’s ghost stalks the cornfields next door, and strange, unseen creatures take flight at night. At least that’s the Peculiar County I’ve written about. But we all have our own personal Peculiar Counties to deal with, childhood fears to contend with and pesky monsters that still lurk under the bed.


 And that’s what I’ve tried to do with my book, Peculiar County. Evoke that curious blend of nostalgia and creepy allure even though we all know it’s bad for us. It’s the kind of book I would’ve alternately cherished and been terrified by as a boy, forbidden fruit. It’s what Halloween is all about. And I suppose, in a way, I’m once again writing about what scares me. Confronting my demons. (Because I don’t think I’ll EVER get over creepy old ladies coming back from the dead. Brrrr…)

The heroine of my tale is Dibby Caldwell, a teen tomboy, the mortician’s daughter in a small Kansas town in the ‘60’s. Dibby deals with common teen issues such as bullying, the cute new bad boy in town, a runaway mother, ghosts next door, a serial killer stalking the town… Wait. Okay, maybe all of Dibby’s issues aren’t so common after all. But then again, there’s nothing common about Peculiar County.

Nothing except for our childhood fears, the ones we still can’t shake.

So this Halloween, go outside, pull up a pumpkin, and read beneath a full moon. Settle in at Peculiar County. It’s gonna be a spine-tingling ride.

“Amazingly good. Brilliant. Pitch perfect characterizations and intriguing use of language remind me of the master writer, Stephen King. Dibby is a heroine of the first order taking charge in a very Peculiar County in Kansas. Totally recommended for light horror fans.” – The Cellophane Queen 5-starred review. 


About the Author

Stuart R. West is a lifelong resident of Kansas, which he considers both a curse and a blessing. It's a curse because...well, it's Kansas. But it's great because…well, it’s Kansas. Lots of cool, strange and creepy things happen in the Midwest, and Stuart takes advantage of them in his work. Call it “Kansas Noir.” Stuart writes thrillers and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences. 

Stuart spent 25 years in the corporate sector and now writes full time. He’s married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates the fact he cooks dinner for her every night) and has a 25 year old daughter who’s dabbling in the nefarious world of banking. (Stuart also finds it uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person, but whatever).

*Stuart R. West’s brand-spanking new website!
*Amazon author page.
*BWL Publishing author page.
*Stuart R. West's (totally inconsequential) blog: Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley
*And the rest (like on Gilligan's Island): Facebook, Twitter




Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Fantasycon 2017 - Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill and a Feast of Horrific Fun

It's rare enough to meet one of your favourite authors, but when two or more are gathered together...

Fantasycon 2017 from the British Fantasy Society brought with it every horror, fantasy and sci-fi writer and reader's dream: a host of favourite authors, panels, workshops, readings, book launches, a packed dealer's room and more. This year, it was held at the Bull Hotel in Peterborough and it was the first I have attended.

Held over three days, it was also the friendliest of gatherings. Even this novice, who errs on the side of shyness before the second glass of wine has taken effect, felt among friends. In truth, apart from my husband, I knew only one other person - Ramsey Campbell - who it has been my pleasure and privilege to meet on a number of occasions. By the time we left, I knew we would be coming back and that it would be a chance to renew acquaintanceships.


As you'll see from the Events Programme, there were so many events happening, it as hard to choose but choose we did. Book launches from PS Publishing, hosted by the inimitable Peter Crowther, and Ritual Limited, Adam L.G. Nevill's own company, introduced such feasts of horrific delight as Dark Places, Evil Faces, from which all proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support, Darker Companions an anthology of fiction, inspired by and celebrating fifty years of Ramsey Campbell's writing, She Sleeps by R.B. Russell and Adam Nevill's eclectic and horrifyingly addictive Hasty for the Dark (of which more later). 


Panel discussions covered a wide range of topics from Writing for Television, through David Lynch's Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, Writing for the Stage, Audio Drama...and much more besides.

It was great to see that the other great writing tradition - the Bar - was well patronised and much renewing of friendships, making of new ones,  networking and...imbibing... led to a busy time for the staff all day every day and well into the night.


The contributions made by well respected and experienced authors, as well as special guests Ben Aaronovich, Nancy Kilpatrick and Pat Cadigan added greatly to the success of the event. All in all, a real chance to recharge the creative batteries.

We could only attend for two days this year, during which I joined the BFS, and my bank account steadily emptied. We needed a suitcase just for the books! Next year, we will be there for the full three days and evenings. We're taking an empty trunk with us.

I promised more on Hasty for the Dark and here it is. It will be published in ebook, hardback and paperback on October 31st this year, but is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, Write Blend and wherever you normally shop for books on or offline.




 From the Publisher:

'These selected terrors range from the speculative to supernatural horror, encompass the infernal and the occult, and include stories inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Aickman and Ramsey Campbell.

Hasty for the Dark is the second short story collection from the award-winning and widely appreciated British writer of horror fiction, Adam L. G. Nevill. The author's best horror stories from 2009 to 2015 are collected here for the first time.

The hardest journeys in life and death are taken underground.
No blackmail is as ghastly as extortion from angels.
A swift reckoning often travels in handheld luggage.
Once considered inhumane and now derelict, this zoo may not be as empty as assumed.
A bad marriage, a killer couple, and part of a wider movement.
No sign of life aboard an abandoned freighter, but what is left below deck tells a strange story.
The origin of our species is not what we think.
In destitution, the future for revolution and mass murder is so bright.
Your memories may not be your own, and your life nothing more than a ritual that will compel you to perform an atrocity . . .
'


 My Review

I first became a fan of Adam Nevill when I read his novel, Apartment 16, which had me glued, scared and peering a little too closely into mirrors and down shadowy corridors. I found it sensationally creepy. Hasty for the Dark proves that the author doesn’t need a large canvas on which to construct his masterpieces. This collection of short stories from six years of work contains evidence of almost every strand of horror and beyond.  Employing the skills of a writer at the top of his game Adam Nevill takes us below ground where claustrophobia strikes as the mass of people presses against the narrator in On All Underground Lines – one of my personal favourites. In The Angels of London, we are transported into a seedy house divided into bedsits that make Rigsby’s Rising Damp seem like a palace, but there is more, so much more going on in that dilapidated building and the author reveals its secrets layer by tantalizing layer.



What happened to the crew of the ill-fated freighter? With Hippocampus, another intriguing tale awaits, heavy with atmosphere and foreboding. 

Reality blurs and memories play tricks with the minds of the central characters as Little Black Lamb takes some truly horrific turns.

I have mentioned only a few of the highlights that await within the pages of hasty for the Dark. All the stories reflect the author’s grasp of language, pace, storytelling, character and plot. Each is a unique gem and, while he acknowledges the influence on him of writers such as Ramsey Campbell and HP Lovecraft, none of Nevill’s work is ever derivative and, before embarking on each new story, my question was always the same: Where is he going to transport me this time?



I was never disappointed. Read and enjoy, and be prepared for vivid images that stay with you long after you’ve turned the page.

  You can connect with Adam L.G. Nevill on his website and his Amazon page. 

Catch him at Liverpool Horrorcon on October7th and 8th 2017 !

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Wrath of the Ancients - Read The First Chapter!

 

 "Like the darkest stories of Poe, Stevenson, and Doyle, it is a slow-burning tale of claustrophobia, madness, secrets, and myths." - Beauty in Ruins

"If you haven't had the pleasure to stumble upon Cavendish, Wrath of the Ancients is a great one to introduce yourself." KenMcKinley - Into the Macabre 
 

"If you’re looking for a great horror book to read, look no further!  Wrath of the Ancients has all the ingredients for a spooky tale." - Mello and June


DESTINY IN DEATH
Egypt, 1908

Eminent archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .

Vienna, 1913

Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.

Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .
Now read Chapter One
  To be published by Lyrical Underground

24th October 2017

Available for pre-order now: