Monday, 5 March 2018

Enter the Dark World of Emeryk Quintillus - ONLY 99c


"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

 "The apprehension was so intense that I kept looking up from the book, checking every dark corner in my room, making sure no portraits were staring at me." - Black Magic Reviews

"In a world of zombies, vampires and prehistoric sea creatures, Wrath of the Ancients is a breath of fresh air." - Two Book Lovers' Reviews


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 . . .

Out Now!

Also Available - for pre-order:

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Loving A Gothic Ghost Story

This week we went to our local Odeon to see Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built and loved it. Before I went, I kind of knew I would. It had all the elements that get me going (in a good way). An eccentric – some might say, veering on the mad – central character, a Gothic house of extraordinary design and stairs leading apparently nowhere, candles, long dark hallways with plenty of polished wood doors, shadowy corners, things moving all by themselves and sudden, scary apparitions.

Set in 1906, the film purports to be inspired by true events. The ever-excellent Helen Mirren plays the real-life reluctant heiress to the Winchester repeating Rifle Company fortune - Sarah Lockwood Winchester – who built rooms to house restless spirits in an effort to help them move on. The result is a most extraordinary house with rambling corridors, precariously perched rooms and building work that continued twenty four hours a day for years.

 The acting, atmospheric set and the whole cinematic experience gave me a riveting 99 minutes entertainment, and I rather think the rest of the audience loved it too.

It gave me the same delicious chilling thrills as the excellent film version of Susan Hill’s classic The Woman in Black.

But what is it about that dark Gothic atmosphere that is so compelling to those of us who are aficionados of the genre? 

 For me, I became hooked at an early age. The works of Edgar Allan Poe, Sheridan le Fanu, Mary Shelley to name but three, had me hiding under the blankets on cold winter’s nights as the harsh Yorkshire wind howled around the house adding to the ghostly creepiness I had just read. It felt thrilling, frightening - but in a good way. A safe way. This horror was supernatural. It didn't threaten me. It made me want to write stories like that. Shirley Jackson, M.R. James, Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and Susan Hill absorbed me. I devoured Dracula, the Turn of the Screw, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde… The list kept on growing. It still is.

Now I write my own and doing so has given me a real insight into why I love Gothic horror so much. For a start, it is a chance to slip into a different world, live for a time in a magnificent old house with vaulted ceilings, secret rooms, spectres and haunted objects. Fires blaze in elegantly carved stone hearths, history is engraved in every piece of fabric and furnishing. Clocks tick and chime in deep, rich tones and there are shadows in every corner –and lurking within those shadows. Ah, the expectation, the chill up the spine, the tingling and goose-bumps of anticipation. All of this and more keep me writing, reading and watching my favourite horror genre and ensure I am always hungry for more.

If you love a Gothic ghost story, my novella Linden Manor is now available on Audible as well as the usual ebook formats. You can also find my Gothic-inspired novels - Saving Grace Devine, The Devil's Serenade and The Pendle Curse too. Just click on the link for more details on all of them:


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Murder Most Notorious - The Leveson Street Slaughter

For a relatively small city, Liverpool packs a terrific punch when it comes to its rich and varied history. Home to a great cultural heritage, and some of the finest Georgian architecture to be found anywhere in the UK, it also - in common with most locations - has its darker side.


In this case, a murder so notorious it caused the local council to rename the street where it occurred. 

It all happened in 1849 in Leveson Street just south of the city centre where, at Number Twenty, Ann Hinrichson lived with her Danish sea captain husband, John. He was away on a voyage and Ann - pregnant with her third child - her two sons, aged five and three and their maid were living peacefully and happily when Ann made a decision that would have fatal consequences. She decided to make some extra cash by renting out one of their rooms.

John Gleeson Wilson, a young Irishman from Limerick, answered her advertisement and, having inspected the rooms, told her he was a ship's carpenter and paid his week's rent in advance. This was on March 28th.

When a delivery boy called the following day, he received no reply to his knock on the door, but he heard someone moaning and, through the keyhole, he could see the feet of someone lying across the hall. he raised the alarm and ran off to find a policeman. When they returned, the neighbours had already broken the door down.

Inside, Mrs Hinrichson's older son and the maid, Mary Parr, had been battered severely with a shovel and left for dead in a pool of blood. Meanwhile, in the cellar, the youngest child lay with his throat cut from ear to ear. The motive appears to have been robbery. Evidently, Mrs Hinrichson had been out when Wilson struck. She had come home to find him in the process of searching through her bedroom drawers. He attacked her viciously with a poker.Mrs Hinrichson and her elder son died shortly after but, unfortunately for Wilson, Mary Parr lived long enough to identify him before she too succumbed to her injuries less than a week later.

Wilson had fled, washed his bloodsoaked clothes in Toxteth Park nearby, and then tried to sell a gold watch to a pawnbroker in London Road. He purchased new boots and trousers and returned to his other lodging house in Porter Street to collect a clean shirt from his landlady. he then calmly walked into a barber's shop for a shave and asked about purchasing a wig as he maintained his hair was falling out. He also made enquiries about buying a £3 ticket to the USA.

The next day his luck ran out Once again he attempted to sell the watch - this time to a dealer in Great Howard Street. Something about his demeanour aroused the dealer's suspicions and he asked his son to take Wilson to a dealer in another part of the city. It was all a ruse. As they passed the Bridewell in Dale Street, the son grabbed Wilson and marched him in to turn him over to the police. The watch had belonged to Ann Hinrichson, as attested to by her mother.

Wilson was unrepentant throughout his trial although during the time he was being held in custody, he was known to have lengthy screaming fits and uncontrollable rages. The verdict required no deliberation on the part of the jury and he was publicly hanged in front of a crowd of some 50,000 people. In fact so many people wanted to witness the end of the notorious killer, that special trains were laid on and a charge of a shilling was made by those wanting a better view.

Wilson didn't go gently to his Maker. The hangman made a mess of the execution. He was a 70 year old stand in called George Howard and he miscalculated the drop.He also failed to position the hood properly and it barely reached his eyebrows. Wilson dropped and writhed in agony, his eyes bulging from their sockets. A number of those with the best views watched in horror as the man's face turned purple and, at one point, he twisted round to face his executioner. This proved too much for some of the crows and a number of them fainted. For fifteen minutes, he slowly choked before he finally expired.

As for poor Captain Hinrichson, he returned home to find his entire family dead. He later rose to become Dock Master at Toxteth, Huskisson and Queen's Docks.

 For residents of Leveson Street, life became intolerable, with sightseers and the sheer notoriety of their street. The council renamed it Grenville Street South. Even so, people would still point at Number Twenty. Gradually the slaughter faded into the annals of history, while all four victims continue to slumber in their graves in St James's Cemetery, nearby.