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 …

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 . . .


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

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.


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.


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.

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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Honorable Mentions: Spring Contest

My poem on spring, Daffodils in a box got an honourable mention in Academy of the Heart and Mind’s competition

Academy of the Heart And Mind

The Road Home

By: Kelli J Gavin

I have walked one too many roads

A few stray paths have distracted me

Not always sure where I was going

Or why I was called away

Home should be where the heart is

But sometimes my heart would fail

A faulty human with a messy soul

At least I thought I should search

Maybe there was something more

Someplace where my mind could rest

Where I wouldn’t feel such constant flux

A place where sleep would come easily

But those roads lead to nothing I wanted

Everything I thought was for me- wasn’t

Joy couldn’t be found down any worn road

Happiness couldn’t be detected on a new path

Rest was absent from any trail my feet tread

Boldness was needed to turn back around

To return to where I had come from

I wasn’t going to accept how I had failed

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Infernal Thoughts

Here is the line – up so far of the authors for the latest horror anthloogy from The Infernal Clock- including a call out for POC/LGBTQIA writers to submit.
I am very happy and proud to be a part of this project and have already started my draft for the 3rd circle – Gluttony.

Stephanie Ellis

A few years back, I joined up with writer friend David Shakes to produce the first of the Infernal Clock anthologies. The idea was Shakes’ and I came onboard to help see it to fruition. We have so far produced 3 anthologies: The Infernal Clock, CalenDark and DeadCades, although last year was a hiatus due to time pressures.

Now we have found the time to start the clock ticking again and create another in the series. This one will simply be called Inferno, its theme being the horrors found in the classic poem Dante’s Inferno.

We were going for invite only again but after drawing up a list of writers, many of whom we have written with over the years and a number of whom have already appeared in the Infernal Clock anthologies, I was struck by the lack of diversity. Recent events in terms of #BlackLivesMatter…

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While Britain sweltered in temps of 30 degrees this is what I was up to in my writing world…

The week began with a very exciting event:- me being interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds by Gayle Lofthouse (see pic below) on her mid-morning radio show.

I chatted about running Saltaire Writers via zoom during lockdown and then my humorous piece of flash fiction, Parker’s Tall Tale was read out.

Which is set in a secondary school and depicts the verbal stand-off between a teacher and Parker, (slippery as an eel).

It was based on a true incident, but much embellished of course.

It was read, very ably, by Sarah Wakefield.


I finalized my rewrites on witch story set in nearby Milner Woods, and sent it off to Fabled Collective. I like to draw on local geography and history in my stories and then blend in the magic and the darkness.

There is also a ruined lost manor house in the woods, which I mention in my story, called Into the Green.


I have had a poem accepted by Dream Well Writing Ltd and Staffordshire Poet Laureate Mel Wardle, for their anthology, Purr Fect Poems which will raise funds for the Stafford & District Cats Protection.

My poem was inspired by my first rescue cat, Taz, from Birmingham RSPCA who has also recently been the subject of an article in Your Cat magazine with a photo. Taz was a feline star in his lifetime, and now he’s gone, he is still being remembered and written about.

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I’ve also been working late into the hot early hours, on my next e-book mini collection, -called, Darkness Calls : Tales from the Shadows.

This will contain ten of my stories, with two brand new never before published stories included and will launch on amazon next week for the price of 99p.

There will be a sneak peek of the cover soon.


I will be running Saltaire Writers zoom next Tuesday- if you receive this blog newsletter and fancy coming along online, then drop me an email through this blog.




Reading/editing/zooming- Arvon/watching films- being interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds -my round-up…

First off my Otley writing group mate, Alex has a new children’s book out in her Stick Man series which I beta read and enjoyed- it made me laugh and there are lots of activities to do/make/create at home with the kids.

This coming Monday 22 June at 1.15pm I will be chatting live on air to BBC Radio Leeds host Gayle Lofthouse before one of my flash fiction stories is read out (by someone else) on air.

Here is the link to the archived stories already read out in this story slot

BBC Radio Leeds goes out on 92.4 FM/95.3FM Digital


I took part in an Arvon zoom session this week listening to YA best seller author Emma Carroll, chat about her latest novel.

Emma Carroll

I’ve read all of Carroll’s books as I retain a keen interest in YA stories especially timeslip, supernatural and historical themed ones.

Arvon are running £5 ticketed on line talks with a series of authors during lock down. The likes of Monica Ali, Michael Morpurgo and Will Self will be appearing during the next two weeks.


During lockdown I’ve been watching some horror shorts (UK/US) on YouTube and Vimeo, including a few directed/written by female film makers and Black female film makers- some of these are outstandingly good and innovative and I wanted to share the links to my top 2 or 3.

Many thanks to Andrea Blythe’s fab e-newsletter ‘Once Upon the Weird’ for flagging up Wake and Danger Word as horror shorts to watch on line.


Wake Poster Bree Newsome to give MLK commemorative lecture Feb. 11 ...

Dir: Bree Newsome (2010) see photo above


‘Everybody knows if you’re fixin’ to GOSSIP, you gotta have a little dirt on somebody. And everybody knows if you’re fixin’ to BURY, you gotta throw a little dirt on somebody. But don’t everybody know that if you’re fixin’ to CONJURE, it’s best to take a little dirt from a body…’ So begins this Southern Gothic tale of ‘root-work’, self-righteousness and comeuppance.

You can watch it FREE here

Danger Word (2013)

Dir: Luchina Fisher

Danger Word Poster

Blurb:- A 13-year-old girl and her grandfather, hiding out in a wooded cabin after a plague, meet the challenge of their lives when her birthday trip to a trading post goes horribly awry.

Photo of Luchina Fisher

Luchina Fisher attends Build series to discuss their new ...

The Cold (2020)


The Cold Poster


Blurb:- After a catastrophic event leaves a couple stranded, a man must embark on a perilous journey to hunt for food and supplies, in spite of the ever-present threat of the mysterious shadow people and the extreme cold.


Kealen Patrick Burke’s work I’d come across as a book cover illustrator – especially the wonderfully creative cover for Stephanie Ellis’ Bottled horror novella published by Silver Shamrock.

Bottled by [Stephanie Ellis]


My poem Blue Kisses – from Truth Serum’s anthology…

It’s amazing what you find on google when you go looking; rather nice to find my poem up there.Indigomania Truth Serum Vol. 4 by [Matt Potter, Alyson Faye]

The theme was blue/indigo/violet and the poems reflect some aspect of the colours:-

Screenshot from Indigo press blue kisses poem page 2020-06-09 01-13-12

The anthology is available to buy off:-



And a trip down memory lane, back to the 1990’s when I first starting sending my work out to publishers. Here’s excerpts from my story for Ginn, for 7-8 years old, Nathan and the games on the Moon.

Nathan was based on one of my pupils I tutored in Handsworth, Birmingham at the time.

Screenshot from Nathan and the games on the moon 2020-06-09 01-22-32


National Flash Fiction Day- I have a piece of flash up on The Write-IN…

The challenge:-

NFFD 2020: Prompt 0

 First Steps

Write a short flash in which the first sentence is one word long, and each sentence after is longer than the one before.

Optional: include the word ‘snow’, ‘bark’, and/or ‘thrum’.

My piece is 57 words and I did manage to include snow and thrum in it.
Every hour, on the hour, a new prompt was/is posted and you can write your piece, – one piece is chosen from each hour to publish on the blog.

What I’ve been writing and reading and a sneak peek at cover of the charity anthology for NHS battling Covid research …

Well some big news- here’s the sneak peek/reveal of the cover of the NHS charity anthology I have a story appearing in-Diabolica Britannia cover NHS antho

the whole book and the artwork is the brainchild of writer Keith Anthony Baird –

Keith Anthony Baird

and I have some amazing writers keeping me company, full reveal of the line-up is coming soon and much more. I am so proud and delighted to be a part of this anthology.


I’ve been sending off my short and long fiction to various ezines and print magazines lately- including two brand new stories, and some pieces of flash including a few lines to a collective poem (a murmuration) as part of Linda France’s residency being run by New Writing North.

Writing the Climate

Murmuration is part of Writing the Climate, Linda France’s residency at New Writing North and Newcastle University.


Zoom Meetings and online workshops:-

I’ve been holding zoom meetings with other writers both for local to my town writing groups and a US/UK meeting where a quartet of us women in horror writers are planning a new collaboration for next year – yes 2021-the ladies in question are :-

Stephanie Ellis

Ruschelle Dillon

Theresa Derwin

and me…

watch this space as to news on this project which I’m very excited about.

Adam Z Robinson is still running through FBook his live streamed workshops and last week debuted a pre-recorded mini film of him reading a story he’d written (filmed during lock down) with Q&A after.


Horror Tree stalwart, Robert Allen Lupton

is on the other side of the world, putting together an anthology to which I’ve submitted and had my Victorian Gothic story accepted. It will be out later this year. More news to follow.

Robert Allen Lupton


What I’ve been reading:-

Currently:- Haverscroft by debut writer S.A. Harris who lives in Norwich (where I was born and trained to teach). If you love supernatural haunted house mysteries with great atmosphere I can recommend this one to you.

Haverscroft by [S. A. Harris]

Lost Films ed. by Max Booth with stories in by the talented Gemma Files and Horror Tree writer Kev Harrison and others. But I did really enjoy those two writers’ stories.

Lost Films by [Various, Max Booth III, Lori Michelle]



Interview with Ruschelle Dillon author of The Stain…

The Stain by [Ruschelle Dillon]

Great cover! Love it- and it’s a good intro to what’s happening within the pages of this dark horror novella.

I’ve ‘known’ Ruschelle online as a fellow ‘women in horror‘ writer for a few years now, through our joint work for and we have appeared in these two anthologies together – see images below- both available to buy on amazon.

as well, I think, we have work in anthologies put together by editors Stuart Conover and Steph Ellis over at the Horror Tree – Trembling with Fear.

DeadCades: The Infernal Decimation Kindle EditionWomen in Horror Annual 2 (WHA) Kindle Edition

So when Ruschelle’s latest novella came out from indie horror press Black Bed Sheets I was keen to grab a review copy.

Interview first up:-

Hi Ruschelle, welcome to my blog. First question coming up:-

How long have you been writing? And writing dark fiction?

I’ve been writing since I was in first or second grade, penning knock offs of stories I read. I’ve been writing dark fiction just as long. My favorite books, then and now were of the ghosty, beasty type. While other girls were reading ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books or ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’, I was reading books on Witchcraft, Bigfoot and Mythology. It could be one of the reasons why I wasn’t popular… hummm.

Can you tell us something about the gestation and inspiration behind your latest horror novella The Stain?

Basements can be scary. And basements with scary histories can be scarier. One in particular is in Gettysburg Pennsylvania- it’s the Farnsworth House Inn. Gettysburg was the site of a hellacious battle during the Civil War in 1863. The Inn was a makeshift hospital for the wounded, and there were many wounded. The blood soaked into the house and into the ground. Today, there is still a very active paranormal presence at The Farnsworth and throughout Gettysburg. As a Pennsylvania resident and Gettysburg haunt enthusiast, Farnsworth and the surrounding area was an inspiration.

The story was born of bloodshed, a prolific stain…

How long did it take you to write? And then rewrite?

I started writing The Stain in 2014… I think. It was one of those stories that I started and stopped a crapload of times. I would work on it furiously, but something else would take precedent, dropping further in my Word documents. But it always resurfaced. It finally was finished in 2018 and edited in 2019.

I particularly enjoyed your depiction of the teenage girl, Livy, in the novella. Have you written children/teen characters before? How hard/easy do you find them to write?

Livy was my second children’s character. My first was a children’s story I wrote, (there was a monster in it, of course) and sent it off for a professional to critique. Well, they hammered the shit out of the story and the beating tore at my writing psyche. I refrained from writing for a few years because of it. But after a few years of licking my bloody wounds, I knew I was a decent writer who just needed guidance. It was then, through the creepy Craigslist, I met my mentor and hairiest cheerleader, John Monaco and created ‘Bone Sai’. From there, with his help I found my voice.

Okay, now back to writing children, (sorry about the tangent) after a few other short stories I wrote what would become ‘The Stain’. I have degrees in Education and taught kids, aaaand since I’m still a big kid myself, writing dialogue and actions for children’s characters isn’t too difficult. I try and think of how I was at a certain age. Even though this generation is more tech savvy than my generation, kids are still kids.

Are you a planner or a pantser in your writing?

I almost always create an outline before starting a story. But more often than not, the idea morphs and some of the ideas I outlined no longer work or need to be tweaked. So I retool the outline adding the new bits. For flash pieces I may not create a traditional outline. I’ll just start writing my initial thoughts, crafting an intro and as I sit there waiting for divine inspiration to slap me in the face, I’ll type little notes on the bottom of the page of random ideas I might want to incorporate.

Do you write :- on a computer? By hand? Coffee or tea? Or booze? Night owl or lark? In the garden or the study?

I write on my phone, laptop or tablet. I do scribble down ideas when I get them… before I fall asleep. Always… before I fall asleep. I don’t ritually eat or drink when I write. Although, If I’m writing in the morning, I will be having coffee. I wish booze was my friend when writing but it either makes me sleepy or do something I shouldn’t be doing, like shaving stray Yeti. Don’t ask… And where do I write? Anywhere it’s quiet. No noise, no music, nothing to distract me. Hell, I’m writing this as I marinate in the bathtub. Scrubbing the kibbles n bits can wait!

What scares you?

People. And they’re getting scarier by the minute. Oh and Trump getting a second term. Terrifies the shit out of me.

Name 3 of your fave horror writers

The usual, early King, McCammon, Straub but I’m discovering so many great indie authors right now. Steph Ellis, Theresa Derwin, Kev Harrison, Patrick James Ryan, Steve Dillon (no relation. Hi Cuz! Lol), Noel Osualdini, Nikki Nelson-Hicks and this chick named Alyson Rhodes. (writing as Alyson Faye- hey thanks Ruschelle for the compliment) Great stuff! And so many others I’ve been lucky enough to read.

Thank you so much for the interview!


Now – drumroll- here’s a review of The Stain:-

The Stain by Ruschelle Dillon  Review by Alyson Faye

Publisher: Black Bed Sheet Books

Publication date :- 16 May 2020

Paperback: 168 pages (and ebook)

The blurb was enticing :- a family move into a house, the apparently oh-so-normal mum and dad, (Marc and Claire) and their two kids. They are hoping to build a more solid family base in this old old red brick, with a basement, than their past string of short term rentals provided.

The story is told in shortish, pacy chapters which crack along and are heavy on dialogue. This is an accessible read and one easy to get into.

Of course the very first chapter which opens with the words ‘I was born of bloodshed’ tips us off that all will not be a sunny walk in the park. There is something else or someone else sharing the house, living in the basement, whose history and evil heart are entwined with the foundations. And there is a lot of history, none of it good, attached to this particular house.

The familial relationships are evocatively and swiftly established, with Olivia (Livy- the teen) being particular likeable, shrewd, feisty and she is the one who first realises there is something not quite right about the shadows in the basement.

Claire is a doting mum, to Livy and her toddler son, three-year-old Jasper, and Marc, though an absentee working away dad, also seems a doting family man. Or is he quite what he seems?

Every few chapters Dillon inserts a flashback piece, revealing another piece of The Stain’s history- the first time this happened it did throw me off, as it took me away from the current day narrative, but I quickly adjusted to it and the information does give perspective to what’s lurking in the bowels of the house or as Dillon also calls it the ‘root cellar’ and never have I know anything good happen in a fictional ‘root cellar’.

A third of the way in, there is a switch in the way we perceive, the dad, Marc and the layers of his marriage to Claire deepen and darken. I won’t give away more than that, but it’s a fun ride.

Throw in the possible paedo neighbour, who lurks on the sidelines and uncle Travis, a work colleague who hangs around the family, and the human drama is ramping up. Meanwhile Livy is becoming increasingly sucked into the web of tricks and games the inhabitant in the basement is playing.

There is a terrible tragedy which I didn’t see coming and took my breath away, and Dillon successfully points the finger away from the real culprit till the end. She plays with our assumptions very effectively throughout the book.

The ending has a few more contortions to put the reader through, before the final devastating paragraphs. It certainly surprised me which way Dillon took the narrative – I did not see it coming.

This is an entertaining, fast read, which takes you on a rollercoaster ride – a blend of horror and thriller with some family drama thrown in. It’s rather different from Dillon’s previous fiction and not what I was expecting to read, but that’s not an issue, just a comment.

The cover is pretty cool too.

4/5 stars.