Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Teeth: Excerpt and Giveaway

We are delighted to share this excerpt from Chele Cooke‘s up coming paranormal horror novel. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a chance to enter to win a copy of Teeth and Chele’s other novels.
TeethMedical intern Thomas awakes in a blood-drenched basement and the realisation that his life must change forever. After all, how can he practise medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer?
Spencer thinks being a vampire is better than any teen movie made it out to be. Now he must train Thomas and make his mentor proud.
One mistake risks more than either are willing to lose, and a single broken law could turn them from predators to prey.

The door had opened as silently as breath. Thomas jumped away from the woman, tripping backwards into the wall. He slid down it and looked up into the cold blue gaze of an older man. His eyes seemed paler than they should be, like someone had extracted half the colour, leaving them almost grey. He regarded Thomas for a moment before stepping further into the room, rounding the woman and taking no care to avoid the blood. His boots sucked from the floor with a squelch. Thomas wanted to be sick.
The man wasn’t particularly tall, nor built, and Thomas’s gaze flickered to the woman, wondering how in the world he’d gotten her up there on his own. He opened his mouth, but no sound found his throat. What if there were more of them? The man trailed his fingers across the back of the woman’s bare shoulders and smiled with pale lips.

“Have you drank?”

Thomas shuffled away from him and peered up with wide, blank eyes.


The man rolled his eyes and stepped up onto the mattress, red footprints across the material. He crouched down and took Thomas’s chin in a vice grip. The man’s pale eyes were inches from his, taking in every detail of his face.

“Have – you – drank?” he asked again. Each word dripped in disdain, and Thomas shook his head as much as the man’s grasp would allow.

“Drank what? There’s nothing in here,” he breathed.

Glancing over his shoulder at the woman, the man’s gaze returned pointedly to Thomas. Thomas froze, his gaze flickering between the man and…and her.

“You can’t…You’re…No!”

The man rolled his eyes and shoved Thomas back against the wall away from him. He was on his feet in a single motion, quicker than he could think to follow his movements and get the better of him. Thomas sat against the wall, rubbing the pain from the back of his head where he’d hit the brick. The door was barely open, but maybe he could get to it. He drew his knees up to his chest, keeping a cautious gaze on the man as he pushed himself, inch by inch, up the wall, ready to run.

The man no longer paid any attention to him. He was looking at the woman. He leaned down and grasped her by the hair, tugging her up as if she were as light as a rag doll.

“You break their rules. You make me do this to you,” he crooned in a voice that verged on loving disappointment. “And you leave me with a fucking vegetarian?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart time author and full time fantacist, Chele Cooke is a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author living in London, UK.
While some know they want to write stories since childhood, Chele first started writing as a teenager writing fanfiction and roleplaying. Before long playing in other people’s worlds wasn’t enough and she started creating her own. Living in San Francisco at the time, she found a lot of inspiration in her favourite city, some of which can be found in her books.
With a degree in Creative Writing, Chele’s first novel was published in 2013. She currently has three books published: two books in a sci-fi series, Out of Orbit, and the first book of a vampire serial, Teeth. Learn more about Chele and her work by conversing with her here on twitter or by visiting her Facebook page(here), Goodreads page(here), or Website (here).

Teeth will be published on the 8th of January 2015 and will be available to buy from Amazon (here), Amazon US (here), Kobo (here), Nook (here) and Smashwords (here).

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.
The prizes include;
Three sets of all Chele Cooke’s books as e-books
Seven e-books of Teeth

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Buddy Review: Say Her Name

James Dawson
say her nameRoberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of ‘Bloody Mary’: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?
Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror… five days… but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before…

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: June 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 240
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Buddy Review: Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

April Genevieve Tucholke
between the devilYou stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Genre: Fantasy, Gothic horror
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut book
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Michelle Harrison
unrestSeventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for six months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Now he is afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes he wakes to find himself paralysed, unable to move a muscle, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. According to his doctor, sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless – but to Elliot they’re terrifying. Convinced that his brush with death has opened up connections with the spirit world, Elliott secures a live-in job at one of England’s most haunted locations, determined to find out the truth. There he finds Sebastian, the ghost of a long-dead servant boy hanged for stealing bread. He also meets the living, breathing Ophelia, a girl with secrets of her own. She and Elliott grow closer, but things take a terrifying turn when Elliott discovers Sebastian is occupying his body when he leaves it. And the more time Sebastian spends inhabiting a living body, the more resistant he becomes to giving it back. Worse, he seems to have an unhealthy interest in Ophelia. Unless Elliott can lay Sebastian’s spirit to rest, he risks being possessed by him for ever, and losing the girl of his dreams

I acquired Unrest at last year’s Summer Scream Foyles event after having heard Michelle Harrison read a section of it and getting some serious goosebumps in the full blazing summer. Unfortunately my forever growing TBR pile meant that it had to be postponed again and again until…. Halloween rolled on. I put everything aside and immersed myself fully in the scary world on the night of witches, and boy what a scare!!!

I stupidly read it mostly at night after I finished work and couldn’t seem to manage more than a few chapters at a time as got too creeped out every time. Now I should inform you that I’m not much of a horror person. Scratch that, I’m just plain and simple not a horror person. I don’t watch horror and I don’t read horror. Michelle Harrison may have changed all that as I now hunt for another similar thrilling read!!

The style of writing and the narration were laced with suspense, eeriness and mystery at every turn of the page. The suspense slowly built to a rising crescendo as small bizarre events occurred growing into bigger, more threatening and frightening events.

But no book’s complete without a bit of romance, which Michelle naturally provided as mystery and ghosts wrapped themselves around the budding spark between Elliott and Ophelia.
I very much enjoyed this book not only for the spook factor, which was delivered in abundance, but also because the characters themselves had depth and were seen to grow with every nightmarish situation. Amongst the ghost hunting, some own personal soul searching was done and it was lovely reading and watching these two characters grow whilst also facing some of our own worst haunting nightmares.

I never thought I would stumble across a horror that I would actually enjoy, let alone love but I am lucky enough to say that I most certainly have. Unrest possessed romance, eeriness, mystery and depth in equal and abundant amount. And I loved every goose-bump endured moment of it. I would even go as far as saying that although reading it at night petrified me and made me jump at every creak of my new flat, I would definitely read it again in the exact same conditions.

Verdict: Couldn’t have creeped me out or made me enjoy it more!!!

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: April 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 375
Genre: Paranormal, Horror
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Them Or Us

David Moody

them or usThe war that has torn the human race apart is nearing its end. With the country in the grip of a nuclear winter, both Hater and Unchanged struggle to survive. Hinchcliffe, leader of an army of Haters, will stop at nothing to be at the top of the new world order.

For me, ‘Them or Us’, the third and final instalment in the ‘Hater’ series was the best book by far in the trilogy.

For those of you that have not read the previous two books, the premise is simple. In ‘Haters’, the world has suddenly split into two groups of people. The ‘Unchanged’ are the majority of the population who have, unsurprisingly, not experienced any changes. Then there are the ‘Haters’. There is no way of working out who may turn into a ‘Hater’. Just imagine one moment you’re plodding along as content as can be, the next moment you have this uncontrollable urge to kill the person walking past you in the street. Inexplicably, you just know who is a fellow ‘Hater’ and who is the ‘Unchanged’ that must be eradicated.

Moody is the master of slow building tension. In the first book, as you witness the worlds population slowly start to fall apart it is almost painful to read, as Moody focuses on the mundaneness of the lead character’s life interspersed with shocking scenes of violence and the tension just increases throughout until you get to the shocking finale which is truly, ‘jaw drop’ worthy.

The second book, ‘Dog Blood’ details the build up and inevitable conclusion between the ‘Haters’ and the ‘Unchanged’, whilst the two groups are fairly evenly matched, the ‘Unchanged’ by their larger population, the Haters due to their unflinching ferocity towards the ‘Unchanged’. Due to the stepping stones Moody put in place in book one in terms of character building, the events that unfold in book two are all the more heart wrenching and your jaw is now touching the floor as you race through the closing chapters.

In this book, Great Britain has now been ravaged by numerous nuclear attacks by both the ‘Unchanged’ and the ‘Haters’ leaving the majority of the kingdom uninhabitable and in the midst of an unforgiving nuclear winter. The ‘Unchanged’ are now far and few between, slowly being hunted to extinction. The ‘Haters’ primary function which was killing the ‘Unchanged’ is pretty much redundant. They are left trying to adjust to a harsh environment where food and provisions are limited and only those that are useful in some way stand the slightest chance of getting provision and security whilst infighting and abuse between the Haters is rife.

Our protagonist Danny McCoyne, a man who has certainly been no hero for either side is physically and emotionally spent and just wants to be left alone. He continues to reign in the ‘Hate’ a rare skill that enables him to be within close contact of the Unchanged whilst suppressing the urge to kill. This makes him noticed by ‘Hinchcliffe’ a bully of a man that rules the large Hater community Danny resides with and uses him to flush out the remaining ‘Unchanged’.

As his future existence and that of his peers looks bleaker and bleaker under Hinchcliffe’s brutal regime, Danny is forced to choose a side when conflicts between the ‘Haters’ themselves and of course the remaining few ‘Unchanged’ come to a climax. This results with his decisions and actions being the main turning point to end at least this trilogy’s final chapter.

Guillermo del Toro has acquired the rights to make this series into a movie and it will be very interesting to see how the story is reflected on screen.

Verdict: This series will stay with me for a long time. It’s morbid, shocking and an absolutely fascinating and thought provoking read.

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Genre: Horror
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Adrian Chamberlin

This week we are delighted to welcome horror writer Adrian Chamberlin .

Adrian Chamberlin is a horror writer from the United Kingdom. He has had a catalogue of short stories published in anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, and his first novel The Caretakers was launched at the World Horror Convention in Austin, Texas, in 2011 to considerable critical acclaim.
He is a founding member of Dark Continents Publishing, a co-operative formed by six dark fiction writers who decided to take control of their writing destinies and self-publish their works through a co-operative model for mutual gain and benefit. Since its launch, Dark Continents Publishing has now become a respected small press publisher with writers from all over the world – including South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as the United Kingdom and North America – releasing critically acclaimed novels, novellas, and anthologies

What was your inspiration for The Caretakers?
The Caretakers was inspired by the Porterhouse Blue novels of Tom Sharpe and the song “El Presidente” by the band Drugstore (more on that later).

I wanted to write a fast-paced supernatural thriller in a similar setting. Oxford and Cambridge colleges are a real gift for the dark fiction writer: medieval settings and ancient rituals mingle with cutting edge technology, and so the shadow of the past looms large over modern city life. I spent a long time in Cambridge and soaked up a lot of the history and mythology, so I had fun incorporating real-life events into the book, such as the 1799 meteorite strike in Impington and the miraculous reappearance of a missing lady known as Elizabeth Woodcock.

Tell us about your book?
It questions the very nature of evil: the secret brotherhood is committing horrifying acts out of a mistaken belief that they are safeguarding the future of humanity. The good guys aren’t your typical white-hats, either; Andy Hughes is an ex-con with a violent past that he’s never been able to escape, and is prone to bursts of rage that threaten to destroy him and those around him. Rob Benson is a stoner, a guy in his early thirties who’s never really grown up and wants to hold on to his student days – there’s a lot of me in him, although I’ve never driven under the influence of booze or weed…

It’s also a very British horror novel. Many UK writers have looked to the US for publication, as the British market is very limited and focussed on a specific type of horror novel; the current trend in modern UK dark fiction is focused on urban horror, and although city-based, The Caretakers doesn’t really fit in that category. The trouble with the American market is while it is more inclusive, and open to the zombie and vampire sub-genres that are so sneered at in the UK, the editors tend to “Americanize” the dialogue and spelling to make it more suitable to their home market.

This novel has received some great reviews, with comparisons made to the works of Adam Nevill, Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell (Horrorzine), and is “the sort of book I wish Phil Rickman would write.” (Jim McLeod, Ginger Nuts of Horror). It’s steeped in ancient tradition and history – the events take place on midwinter’s eve, and the prologue is set before Boudicca’s defeat at the hands of the Roman occupiers – and the mythology behind the Green Man makes a strong contribution to the story, as I added my own interpretation of this mysterious figure’s origins.

Despite the ancient rituals and mythology, the threat posed is one of cosmic horror: Andraste is not the Celtic Goddess of war Boudicca sacrificed to; it is something far more real…and terrifying.

What research did you do for this book?
Regarding the history of Cambridge and the legends of the Green Man, I used the library. I’d originally started the novel way back in the late 1990s, before the internet became what it is today, so back then there was no substitute for background reading in libraries. I also worked delivering office furniture to many of the colleges, which gave me invaluable experience in soaking up the atmosphere and asking questions from people the tourists never get to meet…

Are any elements of your book based on real life experiences/people?
Elizabeth Woodcock was a real person, and her story is a fascinating one (Check it out here).
I juggled around with her past to make her crucial to the events of All Souls College’s past, and I’m pleased with the result. Andy Hughes is based on a person I met in another driving job, and Rob Benson is…well, pretty much me when I was in my early thirties. Jasper the dog was real as well, and is sadly missed.

What are you currently working on?
Fairlight is a Lovecraftian thriller that explores the world of teenage self-harming and takes it one step further by asking: what would happen if self-harming created portals through which demonic creatures could enter this world? I’m also co-writing a zombie apocalypse thriller with American author David Youngquist; he writes the events on the American side and I contribute the scenes of the same zombie outbreak on the British shores, and eventually his characters come to the UK to help defeat a new kind of zombie menace…and it’s all set for a pulse-pounding climax in the town of Glastonbury and the slopes of Glastonbury Tor.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a pen. I had a love of reading fiction from a very early age, particularly science fiction, horror, and historical tales, and I wanted to create my own versions. I grew up in the golden age of pulp horror, so was heavily influenced by James Herbert and Guy N Smith. My first story was “The Octopus Rises From The Deep” in my primary school years, with a mutant cephalopod that goes on the rampage after eating a missing Russian nuclear missile! We had to illustrate our own stories as well, and I discovered my limitation as an artist…I knew then I’d stick to words.

What is your writing process?
I don’t have a set routine as such, neither do I stick to a daily word count. I work full-time, so my writing time is limited to lunchbreaks and evenings at home. I’ll just get behind the keyboard and let my fingers do the typing and see what comes out. Some evenings I’ll get anything from 1,000 to 3,000 words done. I used to plan everything out to the very last detail, but now I just have an idea and roll with it. It means more work on redrafting and revision, but the journey is a much more fascinating one because the creative mind is free, not tied to a synopsis.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
Music, definitely. I have BBC 6 Music as background, but if I want some mood music to help create atmosphere I’ll put on Massive Attack’s Mezzanine or a creepy film soundtrack (Jerry Goldsmith’s Omen III: The Final Conflict, George Fenton’s The Company of Wolves, and Tangerine Dream’s Sorcerer work wonders). Coffee and chocolate help the energy and concentration levels!

What prompted you to self publish The Caretakers?
I hadn’t planned to. I was sending the manuscript out to various publishers and steeling myself for the inevitable rejections while working on Fairlight. However, David Youngquist, Tracie McBride, John Prescott, Serenity J Banks and Sylvia Shults created their own publishing firm, Dark Continents Publishing, and invited me on board. One of the major sticking points with publishers in regard to The Caretakers was its length: 150,000 words exceed the maximum 100 – 120,000 word limit that most publishers insist on. Not only was it a chance to work with people I respected and had made friendships with, it made more sense than going completely solo. They agreed to keep the “Britishisms” in place, as one of our aims is ensuring the works produced reflect the atmosphere and settings of the country of origin, which made me very happy.

Can you tell us about the challenges in writing and publishing your first novel?
The challenges were ensuring the cover art and editing were of a professional standard. I asked Sharon Ring, a professional freelance agent and editor, to edit the manuscript and she did a terrific job, pointing out continuity errors I’d made in the narrative as well as basic spelling/grammar issues. She told me afterwards that the novel was a real pleasure to work on, and several times she was immersed in the story so much she found herself reading it rather than editing! Always a good sign when you’ve made an editor enjoy their task.

I approached Bristol-based fantasy artist Jethro Lentle for the cover art. I gave him a basic idea of what I wanted including, and then let him supply his own interpretation. The result is different to what I expected, but a beautiful piece of work which captures the dark atmosphere of the setting perfectly. Since then, we’ve commissioned him to produce several more pieces, and his art graces the covers of Snareville, Campfire Chillers, and the forthcoming Resurrection Child.

So the early work in production was rather easy: the contacts were in place, and they came through with outstanding results. The hardest thing, though, is getting readership. I didn’t send ARCS out to reviewers prior to publication; neither did I seek “blurbs” from established authors (I was too scared to!). I’m not sure that’s really harmed the book, as the reviews have been extremely favourable and word of mouth is spreading. However, like most first-time writers, I struggle with the self-publicity that is essential to the novel’s success; I refuse to spam constantly on social media.

The other problem is getting bookshops to take copies. One of the biggest headaches all of us in Dark Continents have experienced is bookshops that take copies…and then don’t pay their bills. Every single bookshop in the UK has been either slow in paying or refused to answer emails, phone calls, and invoices. At least with eBooks you don’t have that problem.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Never. If anything, I have far more ideas than the time to put them into practice. On the rare occasions that I’ve been stumped for a story idea, I check the calls for themed anthology submission on Ralan and Duotrope; when I see an imaginatively titled project it sparks off more ideas. The best example of this was A.J. French’s Monk Punk from Static Press, and anthology that created a new sub-genre: speculative fiction featuring monks, from the Western and Eastern tradition. Just seeing that kicked off an idea for a Lovecraftian story that featured an ex-monk from a modern day Brotherhood in England who believes he’s escaped his past, until the day he almost runs over his mentor in a van…

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Treat all advice with extreme caution. There are so many writers out there who blab on about “show, don’t tell”, “write what you know”, and so forth. There are NO hard and fast rules, only guidelines; what works for one writer (and accepting editor) may not work for another. You have no idea if that advice will work for you until you try all options…and believe me, in anthology acceptances, luck plays a big role. So too, I’m afraid to say, does networking and “who you know”. I don’t play that game, because I don’t like the politics in the small press scene. So many writers kissing arse and stabbing people in the back in the hope of getting in the good books of an editor. Don’t do it; don’t get involved in the politics and petty squabbles.
The only advice I would give is to ensure that the work you send out to the world – be it a short story submission, a self-published eBook, an agent query/submission package – is the best it can possibly be. You may be pleased with what you’ve produced, but don’t rush it. Put it in the drawer for a couple of months and work on something else; when you come back to it with fresh eyes you’ll see the errors and flaws that weren’t apparent before.

What do you do when you are not writing?
Most of my spare time is taken up with work for Dark Continents Publishing. I edit and proofread manuscripts, and format all the eBooks for them. Any time left over is spent sleeping! I used to do a lot of archery; sadly, I haven’t picked the bow up in almost two years.

What books have inspired you?
Every book I’ve read – regardless of genre – has taught me something or inspired me in some way. Each novel offers a different perspective on the world, seeing it through someone else’s eyes and ears. The most inspirational books for me are the ones that bring the past to life – I’m a big fan of historical fiction – and the works of Bernard Cornwell are among my favourites, so much so that he inspired me to create my own series character in the form of Shadrach, a mercenary in the English Civil Wars who has another mission: battling Lovecraftian Elder Gods. The first instalment, Shadrach Besieged, will be published in the novella collection Dreaming In Darkness early next year.

What was your favourite book as a child/teenager?
As a child I devoured the pulp horror of the 1970s and 1980s, in particular the “nature gone amok” stories. I loved monsters – still do – and one of the appeals was not so much the guts ‘n’ gore but how mankind responds to this threat.
Peter Benchley’s Jaws was my first introduction to this world, which I read when I was eight years old. Then came James Herbert’s The Rats and Guy N Smith’s Night of the Crabs. Even now, I find the stories I write focus more on supernatural entities and monsters rather than ghosts and serial killers. When I read Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu I never looked back; this was my introduction to the Mythos and showed me a new way of creating monsters.

What are you currently reading?
The Moonlight Killer by Suzanne Robb. This is a departure for Ms Robb, who’s made her name with zombie apocalypse thrillers such as Z-Boat and Contaminated; this novel is a murder-mystery with lycanthropic themes and comedy. Great fun.

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?
So many, I can’t remember! I keep raving about Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour to everyone, twenty-three years since its first publication. A brilliant World War II thriller with a werewolf as its protagonist, it contains page-turning excitement with brilliant flashback scenes to how Michael Gallatin became a lycanthrope and how he struggled to come to terms with it. Quite simply the best werewolf novel I’ve ever read, and a masterclass in historical horror-thriller writing.

Paper, Audio or eBook?
I don’t have much time for audio books, but I can see why they’re popular. As to eBook or paper…really, I have no preference, as long as the price is right. When a publisher is charging more than the hardback price for an eBook that you don’t really own you know something’s wrong.

I read more paper books than eBooks because I can pick them up in charity shops for a couple of pounds, and then return them when I’m finished. But eBooks are invaluable for reading new upcoming authors who I wouldn’t have known about otherwise; G.R Yeates’s First World War-based The Vetala Cycle is one of the best works of the last two years, with its mixture of historical setting, military background, and supernatural terror. The books are critically acclaimed and sell well; they wouldn’t exist were it not for the eBook revolution, and prove to the detractors that quality fiction really can come from self-publishing.

Just for Fun

If The Caretakers was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)
Ah! Every writer dreams of their novel hitting the silver screen, and like them I have my own wish-list of actors. I’d like Sean Connery as John Franklin, the evil Head Porter, but most of all I would love to have David Warner play David Searles, the troubled Master of All Souls College. He would portray the perfect combination of magisterial gravitas and vulnerability that makes the troubled Master.

As long as Rob Benson isn’t played by Danny Dyer, and Andy Hughes isn’t played by Ross Kemp, I’m happy.

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
I’ve already got one! I created a wish-list of music I’d like to appear in the movie; I originally compiled a series of tracks that inspired me to write certain scenes or explore various themes, so tracks from the Manic Street Preachers (“Everything Must Go”, “Yourself”, “To Repel Ghosts”) are on it, as well as Faith No More’s “We Care A Lot” ( “it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it” is a line that fits well with the duties the caretakers are compelled to perform); and Drugstore “El Presidente”. That song in particular inspired the cosmic horror of the novel, as well as the inclusion of the Green Man. I’m sure it’s not what the band had in mind when they wrote it!

Tea or Coffee?
What, no booze? *Sulks* Okay, then: coffee in the morning, tea in the day, and coffee in the evening. Then booze.

Slippers or barefoot?
Barefoot. Always hated slippers.

Shower or Bath?
Shower. I can’t remember the last time I took a bath. (Cue lots of “Ergh! Chamberlin, you smell!” comments…)

Marmite: Love it? Hate it?
Hate is not strong enough a word for that “substance”. It’s veritable shit from Satan’s own arse.

Email or postcard?
Postcard! I get enough bloody emails as it is…

Thanks for having me!

As a Cambridge College celebrates a midwinter feast, four uninvited strangers uncover a devastating secret. A secret that must never be revealed…for the love of humanity.
Andy Hughes – a man with a dark past and an even darker future. His search for a missing student will lead him to a confrontation with an evil beyond human imagining…
Rob Benson – a van driver who discovers a dead wild boar in the back of his Transit. A boar that just won’t stay dead…
Jennifer Callaby – Andy’s estranged girlfriend, who discovers the shocking truth of The Caretakers – and the sacred task that they perform…
Jason Franklin – a prisoner who holds the key to the fates of them all, and may well be their only salvation – if he doesn’t destroy them first…
A disturbing thriller that questions the nature of evil and the price to be paid for the continued survival of the human race – a price that for some is too great to pay…
THE CARETAKERS – a Master’s Degree in terror.

To find out more about Adrian and his work you can visit Dark Continents Publishing’s website (here) or visit his personal website (here)

Caretakers is avaliable to buy from, and Barns and Noble. Come back next week to read an excerpt from The Caretakers!

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Kirsty McKay

Out of sight, out of their minds: It’s a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.
The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.
Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.
But they’ve changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they’re zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin’ fast, because that’s the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates’ next meal. It’s kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.
Combining the chill of THE SHINING, the thrill ride of SPEED, the humor of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and the angst of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Kirsty McKay’s UNDEAD is a bloody mad mash-up, a school-trip splatter-fest, a funny, gory, frighteningly good debut

Culturally confused Bobby has survived the week from hell; A ski trip to Scotland with her new classmates, amounting to little more than constant ribbing for her transatlantic expressions. All she wants to do now is keep her head down and get home without attracting any further attention from her British tormentors.

Opting to stay out of their way, Bobby remains on the coach while all but one of her cohorts pile, through thick snow, in to the secluded services. Irritated that her quiet solitude, not to mention her plans for a private pee, have been interrupted, Bobby does her best to ignore leather clad “rebel without a pause”, Smitty.

Outside the snow picks up, wrapping the bus in a white coat and cutting the passengers off from the outside world, until a single, hand slaps against the windscreen and swipes at the cold covering…

The new girl, the popular girl who touches up her lip gloss mid apocalypse, the rebel with a not so hidden heart and the nerdy, asthmatic conspiracy theorist- a group of people who would have avoided eating lunch together before the intervention of lumbering, reanimated corpses, but who now depend on each other for their very survival.

I know what you are thinking, a group of mismatched teens, thrown together for survival- been there seen/read that! Mckay embraces this and other familiar elements from horror stories and teen movies, infusing them with an energy and freshness that prevents it from feeling trite or clichéd.

The fantastically snarky banter and surprisingly tender heart-warming moments provide relief to the background of gore and mounting tension. The laugh out loud humor has prompted some comparisons with the fabulously funny “Shaun of the Dead” film. While Undead doesn’t contain the visual comedy and slapstick elements (although what Smitty can’t do with a snowboard isn’t worth knowing), I think that fans of the film will enjoy the black humor both mediums share.

While Undead has all of the necessary carnage, gore and violence you would expect from a story featuring teens battling flesh eating zombies, you can rest assured that you are unlikely to lose your lunch. McKay provides enough description to transport you in to frozen rural Scotland, but avoids the overly graphic details, which make some horror books hard to stomach.

As the tension built I was loathe to put the book down (and not least because I was reluctant to leave my safe warm, zombie free home to take my puppy out in the pitch black for her nightly constitutional), and I had to stay up in to the small hours to see how they would escape one perilous situation after another.

Verdict: Fun and likeable characters populate this eerie and atmospheric page-turner. I will definitely be picking up a copy of the sequel, Unfed when It is released next month.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: eARC
Pages: 294
Genre: Horror, Humour
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Dark Inside

Jeyn Roberts

Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to some people. Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known all her life; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger. An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive – at any cost! Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen – now it’s our turn!

It started like any other day, but then the earthquakes came and people began to change. Four teens watch those around them transformed into ‘Baggers’. Humans who hunt down other humans and kill them. Humans who hunt down the weak and enjoy it, who drag families from their homes. The world has changed beyond recognition and it takes everything you have just to survive.

This book was really scary. It’s not often I find a book really chilling, but at one point I actually had to stop reading as I was in the house on my own and it was scaring me too much. It’s a book that examines the darker side of human nature. The idea that everybody has a dark side, just in the ‘Dark Inside’ this dark side is amplified to a greater extreme. It’s the books and films that do this that I do tend to find scary.

I loved that this was set during the ‘Apocalypse’, so many books are set afterwards this days. Though this is great for showing governmental control, setting the book during really adds to the tension, creating that feeling of chaos and panic, a feeling you find very real whilst reading this book. It makes the reader examine what they would do in the same situation as the characters.

The story is told from multiple points of view. Four teenagers who come from different parts of the United States and Canada. This works really well, it shows how different areas, farm villages to big cities, cope with the disaster. It also shows how different people cope, how some band together and how some isolate themselves. It also gives the reader access to a greater range of supporting characters. I also loved that they didn’t meet up until the end of the book, this means that as a reader we already have a sense of who they are as characters in their own right, leaving any group dynamic to ‘The Rage Within’. Which incidentally I can’t wait to read.

I’ve had a lot of teenagers coming in to my library and asking for ‘scary books’ lately. I think that I may have to buy some more copies of this as it will definitely be my new go to book for those after books in the horror genre.

Verdict: Tense, chilling and genuinely scary. A book that examines the darker side of nature that you won’t want to put down.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 368
Genre: Apocalyptic, Horror, Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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