Wonderful review of Darkness Calls from Steve Stred on Kendall Reviews…

My new mini collection is out as an e-book on amazon to buy for £1.77…

 

In Darkness Calls there are ten tales of the supernatural, the macabre and the weird for you to enjoy. They are set in Yorkshire – in a museum on Christmas Eve night where an ancient evil stalks, in a derelict church in Halifax where ghost children roam, in a Gothic cemetery where a boy finds himself stone-struck, and in other stories, women transform into magical powerful beings, and Krampus visits a Victorian family. In two new stories, never before published, Plague visits a village riding a dragon and a little girl takes a trip on a ghost train at the funfair, which is a once in a lifetime experience.

Here are the story titles. The ones with an asterisk by them are previously unpublished.

The cover is courtesy of an image off Pixabay and the title font, colours and formatting was done brilliantly as usual, by Alex Williams.

 

A Gift for Krampus

Dear Sweet Evangeline

All The Lost Children

Night Skating

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear- One Christmas Eve

Jacob and the Angel

The Ghoul’s Train*

Fallen Angel

Plague Rider*

In The Frame

All The Lost Children is set in Halifax and a derelict church near Denholme, which was up for sale and is now being converted into apartments. I couldn’t help but wonder, what if the ghosts didn’t want to leave the graveyard?

 Jacob and the Angel is set in Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford which is chock full of gorgeous Gothic gravestones.

Cliffe Castle, Keighley is the setting for It Came Upon a Midnight Clear … and especially the room stocked with the glass cabinets which are themselves full of stuffed animals and birds, whose eyes always seem to follow you and if you were alone there at night and something was waking up from its sleep?

There are two unpublished pieces, one of which, Plague Rider, was inspired by Arnold 

Bocklin’s 1898 painting (as above) and the other, The Ghoul’s Train, is set in a funfair, based on the kiddy rides at Bridlington.

 

Review of Diabolica Britannica on Kendall Reviews by Steve Stred…

https://kendallreviews.com/book-review-diabolica-britannica-a-dark-isles-horror-compendium/

{Book Review} Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium

Diabolica Britannia

Reviewed By Steve Stred

One thing that’s become evident with the onset of the novel coronavirus is the generosity and large hearts within the horror community. From authors offering up free ebooks so that people can have a healthy distraction while not worrying about financial constraints, to fundraisers and charitable anthologies. ‘Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium‘ falls into the charitable anthologies category. (All profits are going to NHS Charities). The brainchild of dark fiction author, Keith Anthony Baird, Anthony Baird has collected together some of the UK’s best. We get a great cross-section of up and comers to tried and true vets in this anthology, which I think makes it all the stronger.

What I liked: You can’t really start off an anthology any stronger than having a living legend, and one of the nicest members in the horror world out there, Ramsey Campbell provide a foreword. Campbell did a brilliant job of providing a historical look at dark fiction coming from such a small island country, before giving us some insight into each story. From there, we get an incredibly strong opening story with Catherine McCarthy’s ‘Carreg Samson.’ I don’t believe I’ve read McCarthy’s work before, but no matter, I’ll be looking for more of her work either way. ‘Tourist Traps‘ by Christopher Henderson provided a stunningly chilly look at the common walking tour, and then Beverley Lee absolutely knocked it out of the park with her horrific ‘The Secret of Westport Fell.’ Arthur M. Harper had a tough job following Lee’s story, but his contribution, ‘The Conductor‘ suffered no setbacks, instead pushing the pedal further towards the floor. This was a really fast, dark tale.

But not to worry. Sitting at the halfway point, Baird ensured that the TOC wasn’t about to let up. Instead ‘Footsteps‘ by Janine Pipe delivered a novel’s worth of grotesque in a short story, which included a prologue, body and epilogue. I think this will be the story many folks talk about years later from this anthology. It’s really well done, but will also make every single person cringe while reading it. Kudos. Tim Lebbon’s ‘The Flow‘ & Stephanie Ellis’ ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter‘ offer us two great stories, which then leads us into five of the absolute best groupings of stories I’ve read in some time. ‘Linger‘ by John F. Leonard adds some new quirks to his Scaeth Mythos (with a cheeky Bledbrooke easter egg tossed in), Alyson Faye’s ‘Song of the Moor‘ was so beautiful, while also brutal (stay away from that water!), and Keith Anthony Baird offered up the single best thing I’ve read from him. His story ‘Walked a Pale Horse on Celtic Frost‘ starts with a past incident before barreling back and forth. Well done. ‘The Hole‘ by Sarah J. Budd proves why she’s one of the best authors out there. I knew what was going to possibly happen but afterwards… jesus. Left me crushed. Morgan K. Tanner’s depraved ‘Scripted in Shadows‘ was a fantastic look at a book wrapping its hooks into an unsuspecting soul. ‘The Coven‘ by Sarah E. England delivered a story that was a fun read, and from the title you should know just what you’re getting into.

The bookend to this anthology is Adam L.G. Nevill’s surprisingly topical story ‘Call the Name‘ which itself is a reprint. We get thrown into the watery deep end with an extinction event occurring and the discovery of… well, give it a read! Nevill never disappoints.

Each and every story really delivers a great look at just why the Dark Isles always produces some truly amazing horror.

What I didn’t like: It’s a minor thing, but I think I would’ve liked a bit of a thematic tie in through the stories. While each story is solid on its own, I went in thinking it was either going to be all devil related or pandemic related. Not really an issue, but if you’re snagging this, keep that in mind.

Why you should buy it: Well, stunning stories from the best of the UK’s current crop plus all proceeds going to charity – bingo. Otherwise, if you love anthologies, this one is really well done and should be in every horror lovers library.

Diabolica Britannia

Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. It features contributions from the following authors: Adam L G Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Keith Anthony Baird, John F Leonard, Morgan K Tanner, Arthur M Harper, Christopher Henderson, Beverley Lee, Sarah E England, Catherine McCarthy, Stephanie Ellis, Janine Pipe, Sarah J Budd and Alyson Faye.

You can buy Diabolical Britannia from Amazon UK Amazon US

Steve Stred

Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.

He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.

You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred

You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred

You can visit Steve’s Official website here

NHS Charity anthology is up for sale now on amazon…

Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium by [Keith Anthony Baird]

Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. It features contributions from the following authors: Adam L G Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Keith Anthony Baird, John F Leonard, Morgan K Tanner, Arthur M Harper, Christopher Henderson, Beverley Lee, Sarah E England, Catherine McCarthy, Stephanie Ellis, Janine Pipe, Sarah J Budd and Alyson Faye.

Genre legend Ramsey Campbell contributes with an insightful foreword and puts his stamp on another addition to British horror’s legacy. All for a good cause, the profits from this anthology will go to fund the NHS’ efforts in COVID-19 research.

So explore every corner of this compendium and be pulled into the shadowy depths of the dark isles.

 

Youtube trailer for Diabolica Britannica NHS charity anthology…

Explore all corners of the British Isles courtesy of this horror anthology. You’ll find tales steeped in old lore, mystery, and fear. Its authors bring you all manner of imaginings, and while you wander each gloomy path you’ll be helping to wage war against a new evil, as all profits from this Dark Isles Compendium will go to battle COVID-19. Plus, with a foreword from the legendary Horror Writer Ramsey Campbell, you’ll be in esteemed company. Animation, images and music by Tony Evans Book cover design and formatting by Keith Anthony Baird Thanks to the following for use of their photogrammetry models. (Catherine McCarthy)

Really pleased to share this moody, evocative trailer with all 14 stories listed with images representing both the contents and the tone.

Mine is ‘Song of the Moor’ (Ilkley Moor).

 

Up today on Kendall Reviews is my review of the latest horror novella by Steve Stred …

https://kendallreviews.com/book-review-the-window-in-the-ground-steve-stred/

All proceeds are being donated to The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada’ by Steve.

                            The Window In The Ground: Steve Stred

Here is an excerpt from my review:-

On the outskirts of town, hides a secret. . . runs the description opener and what a secret, hidden in the woods, along difficult to follow tracks – there is a window in the ground. This is exciting enough in itself for horror fans, but there is light, movement and sound coming from Beneath. There is something down there. What’s more the town knows about it, lives with it and accepts its existence. Or at least they seem to.

There is also a sign by the window laying out the rules of visiting, dated from 1674! Including the exhortations:- ‘No one under 18’, ‘Absolutely no meat’, ‘No babies’ and ‘Never, ever touch it’. So we know it’s Very Bad News indeed…”

Here’s the amazon link:-

 

NHS Charity Anthology is coming soon to amazon, with stories from Adam Nevil and Tim Lebbon and me …

Here is a reveal of the cover, title, and table of contents, including a foreword from Ramsey Campbell – the British Maestro of Horror- all funds raised will go towards the NHS in their research for a vaccine for Covid.

Image for Ramsey Campbell, click to learn more.

Details of when it’s up to buy are coming soon.

DB Cover with Ramsey Campbell foreword

Adam Nevill has written several horror best sellers and one of his most famous, is The Ritual, which was filmed and shown on Netflix.

One of my personal faves in horror novels is Tim Lebbon’s post-apocalyptic thriller, The Silence, which was also filmed and shown on Netflix.

The Ritual: Now A Major Film, The Most Thrilling Chiller You'll Read This Year by [Adam Nevill]The Silence by [Tim Lebbon]

Other authors appearing include Stephanie Ellis, co-editor over at The Horror Tree and author of Silver Shamrock’s novella Bottled, and my fellow ‘women in horror’ collaborator, and Bev Lee the author of the novel The Ruin of Delicate Things.

The Ruin of Delicate Things by [Beverley Lee]Bottled by [Stephanie Ellis]

My own story, Song of the Moor is set on Ilkley Moor (little reveal there) near White Wells Spring, which I first explored years ago as a child/teen with my collie, when we came up from Brum to Otley to visit family every year.

White Wells Cottages Ilkley Moor

All the writers in this anthology have donated their stories for no payment and I hope that the anthology will interest folk, entertain and raise funds for the NHS.
I am proud to be a part of this project.

Latest issue of FREE horror mag is out with a story of mine in it…other news… Saltaire Writers on zoom/submission ops for writers …

 

http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/ezine.htm

This e zine has been so supportive of my writing journey, and still continue to publish my work three years on.This is their 50th issue.

My story is Redemption and stars a massive snake – think Anaconda on steroids. You were warned.

Below is an exclusive preview of the opening:-

Tying the ropes around the boy’s bony chest and ankles, Lorcan worked as fast as his sweating fingers would allow. He stroked the boy’s cheek and watched his ribcage rise and fall. His own breathing was laboured. His task lay heavy upon him.Behind him the vines twitched and heaved, vomiting streams of bloody sap, sending out their own plant pheromone signals. Beneath Lorcan’s feet the earth wriggled in anticipation.It was coming.Lorcan bowed his head mumbled a few words, lingering to stare at the prostrate and unconscious boy child, drugged and oblivious, before Lorcan hauled himself to his feet and turned away. His annual duty performed.He trudged back to the waiting village, to the closed doors, barred windows and the accusing silence. He was one of them, yet he was not truly accepted. He had his own cottage–where no one visited him. His duties marked him out as different, special, chosen. A leper.He hated what he had been born and trained to do every summer solstice. He smelled the scent of marzipan in the air and knew the women in their kitchens were baking sweetmeats for breakfast. His stomach rumbled. “Papa, see he’s coming back. He’s –alone.” Jonas gasped in sudden realisation of what this meant. “But where is… ?”“Hush now, lad. He’s gone. Lost to the forest and the vines.” His father ushered his youngest back to his bed. At five years old Jonas was too young to understand the nature of sacrifice. His father thanked the great all giving father that Jonas had been spared this solstice and instead another family’s heart had been broken.“Papa, I don’t understand. Where’s Penn?”Penn, his playmate since birth, a bright-eyed lad, with the colouring of a raven and pale milky skin, lay asleep and dreaming in the guts of the forest. He dreamt of knights on horses, rivers filled with fish, running with the village boys and eating fresh baked cakes. The bulging hairy vines tightened their grip around Penn’s body, strangling his limbs, marking his flesh with their sticky sap and bright red buds, curling their fronds into his hair, holding him secure until their master arrived. Penn snored, adrift on dreams of a life he’d never live again . . .

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It was lovely too to be long listed in a drabble writing competition too- down to the last 20.

https://lightboxoriginals.com/100words-story-longlist/

We were asked to write around 100 words inspired by a photograph- below- and here is my entry, exclusive to my blog:-

Aurora Calling by Alyson Faye

I listen to the waves’ murmuring, the seagulls frantic busybodying cries, as I stand proud. Now I am disabled. They turned me sightless, stole my light; my soul. They locked my door and left me alone at the edge of the world.

I feel the sun’s heat on my concrete skin, but no hearts beat inside me. No men’s voices shout or weep. Once a year only do footsteps echo up my stairs, to maintain my consciousness.

A child approaches, waves and points, at the kite flying next to my blind eye.

I am, for a moment, no longer alone.

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In other news:-

I am running Saltaire Writers on zoom once a month with prompts and the numbers are growing- if you’re interested in joining us and live around Bradford and Leeds please get in touch.

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I am a Patreon supporter of this first rate American indie horror press run by Joe Mynhardt, and can recommend them for news, comps, free stories, writing tips and e-arcs.

They are currently open just this month only for novels and novellas submissions.

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Demain publishers (run by Dean Drinkel) are looking for stand alone horror/dark fiction stories for their next series of Short Sharp Shocks!

If you follow Dean on FB you will be able to see the latest posts and what other stories he’s published.

http://www.demainpublishing.com/

My SSS! was Book 18 Night of the Rider

still 99p for the e-book on amazon.

My story was around 6000 words, so I’d say if you’re going to submit stories to Demain that’s the short side of the sub length, you can go longer. Check with Dean.

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