Tuesday 10 September 2019

Cursed? Or Just Unlucky?

 When not reading horror, I frequently turn to another of my passions - historical fiction - and one of my favourite authors in that genre is Shehanne Moore.

She brings a zest for adventure, humour, spice and a cast of characters that leap from the pages and keep me entertained from start to finish. Yes, there is romance, but bosoms most assuredly remain unheaved. Shehanne's heroines are tough, feisty and indefatigable. The heroes are anything but textbook.

Now Shehanne is back with the first in a new series - Cornish Rogues. She's here to tell us more about 'O'Roarke's Destiny':

‘May everything you touch wither to dust.’ Cursed? Or just unlucky? 
    The question is this. I cursed you. I cursed you and your brothers –” 
    “One of whom—” 
    “Blew his brains out at midnight. Do you seriously think I didn’t trouble myself to find out?”
     “Oh, I’m sure-"
     “May everything you touch, turn to dust.”’  
     Cursed?  Or just unlucky? Nice to think it’s the latter but legends of curses permeate practically every culture in history. from entire families to items---jewels especially—but places too.  It would be good to say we just like someone to blame misfortune on but then again, some folks don’t seem to have a lot of good fortune, do they? 
   Let’s take my new heroine, Destiny who is the victim of just such a curse…
   “But the fact was that curse uttered for nothing had killed Ennis, as surely as if Divers O’Roarke had pushed his carriage down that ravine that night.” 
     It’s very convenient to believe that all the loss and tragedy that follows Destiny about like a bad smell is the result of that curse, when it was probably on the cards anyway.  Also, at the time she was cruising for the proverbial bruising, causing besotted men to shoot each other, this could just have been a wind change in her life,  a what-goes-round-comes-round time. But then again, the loss of a mother, father, brother, husband and more in the space of two years, not to mention another brother becoming an alcoholic, does seem the kind of misfortune that would give the Kennedy family a run for their money in the cursed stakes.  
      And I think that is where curses have their power—superstitious--but even so. Would you really want to flout a curse by wearing the Hope diamond for example? Or indeed  by then touching someone who was cursed? 
    From Land’s End to Launceston people avoided her like she had the plague. In fact it was probably from Land’s End to John O’Groats. She couldn’t get another husband even if she wanted to.” 
     Whether it is balderdash or not, if something goes wrong after you flout a curse, well, you are probably going to blame the curse and wish you hadn’t done it, even if curses may, or may not exist. The Rhodes family aren’t alone in being cursed. Other famous families, in addition to the Kennedys, include the Hapsburgs, the Grimaldis, the Hemingways. I guess the Romanovs weren’t exactly what you might call lucky either. 
      Of course big families like that, in terms of being newsworthy, of having wealth etc., are always going to find their bones being picked over by the ‘lesser mortals.’  And the Rhodes family have that local standing.
      ‘She was a Rhodes and Rhodes were all about living life to the hilt.’
      Big old house, family tree going back centuries, suggestions of links to pirates, definite links to smugglers. Legends surround them, like Raven’s Passage, said to stretch from their family seat, Doom Bar Hall, all the way to the beach, a fabulous place stuffed with golden treasures. 
     It’s easy to say that some of these real families were cursed when you can point to the actual curse itself, how it came to be uttered and who was responsible.  Rasputin, of course gets held responsible for cursing the Romanovs but as a family they had plenty of misfortune before that. Nicholas II’s father and grandfather didn’t exactly fare brilliantly either and Rasputin never cursed them.  But then the times they were living in were pretty explosive.  No pun intended actually. Just pointing out the possible carnage/ill heath rate which brings me to the Bront√ęs, another family that might be construed as cursed. Equally fame eventually touched them, so we know of their lives. But their deaths were the lot of entire families especially given the unsanitary conditions of the time. 
     The thing about curses? I honestly think you pay your money you take your chances…I know I am taking mine releasing this book on a Friday 13th.  It did-–er—seem apt.  And I loved weaving a curse into the story as it gave me plenty scope to use the hero and heroine’s reaction to it to drive things forward. 
      Catherine, thank you so very much for asking me here today.
    “He cursed you, me, Chancery. You most of all. Think how different your life would now be if he hadn’t uttered these damnable words. When Chancery loved Rose. Wanted to marry her, for God’s sake. That Divers O’Roarke didn’t know is no damned excuse.”
     “I am thinking. And I’m thinking we are the life we live. Its graces and its pain. And while we may not always have any control over it, we can control what we do about it. But if you want to believe in a load of old gypsy mutterings and superstition and hold it responsible for the fact you can’t walk past a drink, without feeling obliged to down and then drown in it, that’s your choice. This is mine.” 

   Once he’d have died to possess her, now he just might… 

Beautiful, headstrong young widow Destiny Rhodes was every Cornish man’s dream. Until Divers O’Roarke cursed her with ruin and walked out of Cornwall without a backwards glance. Now he’s not only back, he’s just won the only thing that hasn’t fallen down about her head—her ancestral home. The home, pride demands she throw herself in with, safe in the knowledge of one thing. Everything she touches withers to dust. 
He’d cursed her with ruin.
Now she’d have him live with the spoils of her misfortune.
Though well versed in his dealings with smugglers and dead men, handsome rogue Divers O’Roarke is far from sure of his standing with Destiny Rhodes. He had no desire to win her, doesn’t want her in his house, but while he’s bent on the future, is there one when a passionate and deadly game of bluff ensues with the woman he once cursed? A game where no-one and nothing are what they seem. Him most of all.
And when everything she touches turns to dust, what will be his fate as passion erupts?  Will laying past ghosts come at the highest price of all?
Available Amazon. September 13th 2019 Black Wolf Books.

About the Author

When not cuddling inn signs in her beloved Scottish mountains alongside Mr Shey, Shehanne Moore writes dark and smexy historical romance, featuring bad boys who need a bad girl to sort them out. She firmly believes everyone deserves a little love, forgiveness and a second chance in life.

Shehanne caused general apoplexy when she penned her first story, The Hore House Mystery—aged seven. From there she progressed to writing plays for her classmates,  stories for her classmates, plays for real, comic book libraries for girls, various newspaper articles,  ghost writing, nonfiction writing, and magazine editing.  Stories for real were  what she really wanted to write though and, having met with every rejection going, she sat down one day to write a romance, her way.  

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Werewolves Work Among Us

 I have often described Stuart West's writing as my guilty pleasure because whether it's horror-with-humour, crime or the manic antics of Zach and Zora, he never ceases to entertain me and put a smile on my face.

Now he's back with a fabulous take on the werewolf trope. In fact, these are werewolves as you have never seen them before - and that's before we get into goat yoga. I'll leave it to Stuart to explain:

Okay, that guy. See him? The guy three cubicles over? The one who kinda reeks, is pretty hairy, snaps at others like they’ve snatched away a choice soup bone?

Chances are he’s a werewolf.

I’m not kidding.

Werewolves are around us. It’s no lie, I have proof. Three out of four dentists suggest the same thing and they would know, having to dig fingers into lycanthropes’ canine teeth on a regular basis. Is it any wonder dentists have the highest suicide rate amongst professionals? It’s a colossally, huge burden they shoulder.

Dr. Larry Veranicus, PhD standard bearer of Lycanthropy for the European Establishment of Werewolfography (aka, “EEW”), explains it best. “People largely assume werewolves are the thing of dreams, big-eyed monsters with claws out to here,” says Veranicus, eyes bugged and clawing the air. “Little do they realize, werewolves aren’t a myth. Rather the most inconspicuous person you know could possibly suffer from lycanthropy.” Dr. Veranicus sucks on a pipe, emitting a wheezing, lazy bagpipe sound. “Once, when I worked in fruit basket sales, I noted a gentleman, one work station over, had extraordinarily hairy knuckles."

I asked him, I said, "Chuck, do you suffer from hypertrichosis?"

Strangely, Chuck ignored me and proceeded to seal the deal on a particularly voluminous fruit basket sale.

But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Undoubtedly, Chuck was a werewolf. Call them what you will, no sugar-coating and no prejudice:  wolf-man (or woman, if you will, lycanthropy is not a sexist disease), loup-garou, lycanthrope, shape shifter, or a talcum-toed Talbot. Soon, I discovered just how prevalent werewolves are in our so-called civilized society. Lately, it’s become much more disturbing as werewolves have now fully indoctrinated into society, building their own power clique, steadily becoming the rulers of the world.
I questioned Dr. Veranicus on the proof to his theory. Pointing to a pie chart, he explained, “This largest slice?” He tapped a blood-red quarter of the pie diagram. “This represents werewolves living amongst us.”

“What does the green smudge in the corner represent?” I asked.

“Yesterday’s lunch. As you can see, I’ve fully documented the rise of…”

While, Dr. Veranicus opened my eyes to the world around me, the thorough journalist that I am, I sought further corroboration.

My research assistant, Ms. Google, uncovered some interesting facts.

Fact! Gaius Petronius Arbiter, a Roman courtier during the reign of Nero, is one of the earliest perpetuators of the truth regarding lycanthropy. Hey, the (widely accepted) author of The Satyricon wouldn’t lie, now would he?

Fact! The belief in werewolves perpetuated alongside the notorious witch hunts throughout Europe in the 18th Century. And since when have religious zealots been wrong?

Fact! The term lycanthropy, referring both to the ability to transform oneself into a wolf and to the act of so doing, comes from ancient Greece, widely renowned for being a hotbed of smarty-pants fellows.

Fact! Today’s corporate cut-throat cult of personality thrives on werewolves and vice-versa. It’s not a well-known fact (at least until now!) that werewolves constitute the largest percentage of the hard-charging, social-stabbing corporate climbers we’re all painfully familiar with. It’s a jungle of concrete and glass tailor-made for the beasts in humanity.

Werewolves work among us! And I’m here to tell you the truth in my shocking true undercover expose, Corporate Wolf.

Here, let my publisher take care of the blurbiness:

 If you can't run with the big dogs…

It was supposed to be a corporate retreat and a series of morale-boosting exercises. It was a weekend Shawn Biltmore nearly didn't survive.

There was something else playing in the woods that night, something other than a bunch of corporate drones with paintball guns.

And it had chosen Shawn as its new chew toy.

…rip 'em to shreds.

The local authorities chalked it up to a bear attack.

So did the doctors.

Shawn knew the truth, however, as much as he wanted to deny it.

But when one of his coworkers is viciously killed, Shawn must face the truth…

He's a killer who needs to be put down.

Or is he?

Okay, the book’s all gussied up as horror fiction, but it’s not. Not really. This is a work of non-fiction. So, lock your doors. Don’t ask for a raise. Go get a manual labor job. I understand there aren’t a whole lot of werewolves in the service industry.

You’ve been warned.


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 books. Call it "Kansas Noir." Stuart writes thrillers, horror and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences.

Stuart spent 25 years in the corporate sector where he first encountered werewolves until he dropped out to pursue writing. Alas, the industry being what it is, Stuart’s now forced to reenter the lycanthropic corporate sector.

If you're still reading this, you may as well head on over to Stuart's blog at: 

You can track down Stuart's Corporate Wolf here: