15 Dec 2014

“Murder Most Deadly” by Simon Okill

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“Murder Most Deadly” by Simon Okill is a fun-filled horror story that will have you in stitches. 23634121

Blurb: “It is an earthy British horror comedy in the style of Carry On, Monty Python, Blackadder all wrapped up in a Hammer Film.

Bianca Penhale, celebrity author, has a dark secret that must be protected at all costs. Her delightful Cornish fishing village is proud to have her, but the gossips have already started. Then Maldini the Magician discovers her secret and blackmails her. This triggers Bianca’s dark side but Maldini has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Bianca’s troubles go viral when her conniving cousin, Hugh, arrives begging for money. His devious antics attract all manner of problems that soon spirals out of control, sending poor Bianca into despair.

And if things weren’t bad enough, she must do battle with witches, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, zombies and Piskies. Bianca’s once cosy life has been turned upside down. Can she hold on to her dark side and survive the onslaught?”

Just like the publicity for this story promises, there is a distinct hint of Hammer Horror in this, although better plotting and characters that are a little more evolved than Hammer occasionally delivered. Set in Cornwall, which has its own history of ghosts and spook, the story centers around the Bianca and her boyfriend, failed Magician Maldini, who soon turns into an enemy. This murderous and thrilling mayhem will scare you as well as it entertains and keeps you at the edge of your seat. Okill has a unique talent for combining hilarious fun with darker elements and proves that genre crossing can work. A truly great read and a must for fans of hammer, horror and dark comedies.

Find the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Link to my interview with Simon and a link to my feature on his other work

Simon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/tassyoneill his website http://facebook.com/simondokillwriter twitter username SimonOKill

SImon author pic
Simon Okill lives with his wife, Shirlee Anne in a pretty coastal town in South Wales, UK. After a serious accident at work, he was forced into early retirement due to disability. Simon used his newfound skills as a writer to help with his depression. His writing became more serious as certain A-list actors expressed interest in his scripts.He is presently working on his teen adventure series Phantom Bigfoot Series.Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again is book #1 of the series where superhero Duane Dexter has to use all his powers to save the day in Big Beaver.Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampettes from Venus is #2 where Duane must use his powers to save Big Beaver from sexy space vampire.

Phantom Bigfoot & The Haunted House #3 has Duane outfoxed by a devious spook, full of paranormal romance.

Luna Sanguis is the story of Eternal, a 19 year old woman – an amnesiac vampire treated in an asylum in France 1925.

Luna Aeturnus follows hot on its heels as Eternal must face her dreaded enemy in a battle of the vampires.

SSteppenwolf is a supernatural retelling of WWII involving the Occult Warfare department run by Himmler.

‘Flip Side’ is one of Simon’s most exciting screenplays to date with its unusual slant on a supernatural gangster story that encompasses music and dynamic dance sequences to portray the action. The script has been optioned by Tasha Bertram of Brodie Films and Stuart St Paul has come on board to direct and co produce this fascinating piece of work.

Apart from ‘Flip Side’ Simon has several screenplays all in varying stages of development and predevelopment.

‘Nightmare Circus’ is a supernatural revenge mystery script set in the Australian outback.

‘Dark House’ another of Simon’s screenplays set in Massachusetts, US, where a lonely female artist must overcome her agoraphobia to escape from three kidnappers holed up in a haunted house.

‘Circus of Blood’ is a horror script set in Rome AD79.

‘Hunter’s Moon’ is a contemporary supernatural western script set on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.

The Last Warlord is set during WWII and tells of Major Stewart of MI6 who must find the Nazi’s secret Atlantis base in Antarctica or the entire world will be doomed. Currently in the hands of a major Hollywood producer.

 

28 Feb 2014

NEW RELEASE: RUNE: EPISODE IV: ENTOMBED by J.H. Glaze

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“RUNE (Episode IV: Entombed)” by J.H. Glaze is speeding things up in this enchanting paranormal adventure series geared at young adults and young at hearts.  51iXd7LfU9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_
Our trio of protagonists are 18 year old Jake, his girlfriend Maire and Pete, a demon trapped in a dog’s body. Hunted by evil demons the three of them have an exhausting and action packed journey ahead of them. Jake Rune has recently gone an ominous transformation and has acquired super human powers. Hunting down scrolls is part of their mission…and of course simply surviving, too.
Glaze has created very meorable and likeable characters who are great leads to bring and keep the story alive. They are chasing and are being chased in what might become a tour of the Southern States. Jake’s arch enemy Seraphine has joined the hunt for out young heroes and adds more colour to the story.

Of all four books this is the fasted and most action packed. After setting up the scene and characters and after getting us used to his originally created world Glaze now invites his readers to a moreadrenalin-fuelled episode that will be continued in Episode V.

Masterfully written, with natural dialogue and great pacing this is an easy and solid read.
A hugely enjoyable feast for fans of fun and suspenss-filled paranormal fare.

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Amazon: amazon.com/author/jhglaze
Facebook: facebook.com/JHGlaze.author
Goodreads: goodreads.com/JHGlaze
Twitter: @themostcoolone
Website: www.jhglaze.com

J.H. Glaze is a versatile storyteller, born in northeast Ohio. As a young adult, Glaze traveled the
country, frequently hitchhiking, and always looking for adventure and new opportunity. Much of
the quirky plot lines inherent to J.H. Glaze’s tales were informed by the experience of these early
years. Readers will appreciate his accessible, “Hey, I know you,” phrasing, and the everyman voice
that will seem so familiar, drawing them in before providing an unexpected twist. With a blend of
horror and humor, he delights in giving the reader a kick in every chapter of every book.

The Rune series marks Glaze’s début into the world of young adult fiction. In the style of a television series, each episode is a novelette that ends with a
cliffhanger requiring the reader to wait until the release of the next episode to learn what happens
next. In the first episode, the main character, Jake Rowan, experiences a mysterious transformation
on his 18th birthday. Fortunately, he meets up with a dog, later named Pete, who guides him into
what he learns is his destiny. As the series continues, Jake and Pete are caught up in a quest to save
humankind from the demons that have plagued them for more than a thousand years.

J.H. Glaze’s writings include the full-length novels, The Spirit Box, NorthWest, and Send No Angel,
which make up “The Paranormal Adventures of John Hazard.” Glaze has also developed a short
story series, “The Horror Challenge,” affording him the opportunity to interact with his readers who
are invited to suggest a word or phrase that he will use to twist into a theme or prop in one of his
engaging stories.
Glaze’s talent as an author with a sincere love of storytelling shines through as he transitions with
ease from spinning tales of horror that thrill to a heart-warming romantic novella, The Life We
Dream. All the while maintaining his compelling storytelling style, Glaze thrills again in Forced
Intelligence, the novelette that peeks into the moral dilemma of using animals in experiments for
scientific or military advancement.
A self-published author, J.H. Glaze is called one of the New Kings of Horror by fans. He currently
lives near Atlanta with his wife, Susan, two dogs who are crazy about him, and a Senegal parrot
that merely tolerates him.

 

03 Dec 2013

David Chattaway: Singing Sands

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Today I present to you a very treasured and chance find of mine from Goodreads.

SINGING SANDS is FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW

 

“Singing Sand” by David Chattaway is a very impressive debut novel about Jamal, the adopted son of the Nelson family. With a scaring family background of his own and traumatic experiences from his times at an orphanage / half way house Jamal is by no means an easy character. add to that the hate his step sister Mary has for him and you have the promising premise for a powerful read and that is long before the story really begins.
The entire Nelson family go on a camping trip together and soon they find themselves in a very unexpected yet life threatening situation that brings their strength as a unit to the test.
Interspersed with flashbacks to Jamal’s past the narrative moves very fast and makes for a rather compelling page turner of a book. This is a well written action packed thriller with some great psychological insight in to the minds of the characters. It is also a great family story that defines the terms of family ties and human bonds, there is a thoughtful and pleasing message embedded in all of this. To quote from the book: Jamal has been dealt a very tough hand but he will not give up and not make anyone suffer. A great leading character, supported by several others. It is amazing how easily and yet thoroughly Chattaway has established his cast. This is very good

Interview with David:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

 I’m a very happy person with plenty of hobbies and passions. I have been writing for years, however it wasn’t until 2011 when I started on a story idea named “Malakh” that I really caught the writing bug. I also met a fellow author at work he had released his first novel. When he explained the process of getting his work published and available for people to read I set to the task of completing some of my unfinished stories. 

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What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

It probably started when I was a child, my dad would tell me bedtime stories each night to send me off to sleep. He would come up with these intricate, involved worlds and characters and transport me there. He was incredible at painting such a vivid picture in my young mind. I wrote plenty of short stories throughout primary and high school, however I would start them but never actually finish. I think completing “Singing Sand” definitely helped me to realise what it takes to not just write, but properly complete a book. 

Were you always going to write a thriller? What is your connection to the genre?

I actually completed the draft of “Malakh” (book 1 in a fantasy trilogy) but I knew that it would take quite a lot of time to polish that book so I decided to tackle something smaller but different to what I would typically do. I love movies and Thrillers are one of my favourite genres. To be honest I don’t read any thrillers and that was part of the reason I set out to complete one. I also wanted to tackle a few moving pieces at the same time. I thought, what if the main character had experienced substantial loss, what if he was from a different background to his new family. What if the family hadn’t welcomed him fully. I guess I came up with framework of the characters in the story before I thought of the situation they might find themselves in, the thriller/suspense aspect of the book if you like. I’m not sure if this is a common process for authors of the genre, but it worked well for me.

What made you chose an orphan as hero?

 I’ve led a privileged life and thankfully had a wonderful family to support me throughout it. I think the reason for having the main character be an orphan was really because I wanted to tell a story of a persons evolution. It’s challenging to condense something so large into a short Novella but I felt that a character who had lost so much and knew that he could have done so much more to help the people he had lost would allow the reader to both be sad for his situation, but also celebrate his evolution into the person he inevitably becomes. 

Tell us a little about the history of the book. How long did it take you to write and publish?

 The original draft of the book took me around 20 hours to write, over a period of 4 weeks. There was then around 10 hours of rewriting and adding further changes based on my own observations and my friends/families. After that I spent around 15 hours editing the book and polishing it into a final draft to send to my editor. Once I received the book back I spent a further 5 hours over 2 days marking up suggested changes and finally reading the finished product for the 4th time. I then uploaded the book using createspace and it was available for sale on the 20th of October 2013. I commenced writing the story in June so in total the book took me 4 months to take it from an idea to something available to purchase.

Why did you decide to tell this story?

 I wanted to write a thriller based in Chicago, Illinois. After that the book wrote itself. I created the character of Jamal Lewis, before I had the entire story mapped out. It became a scenario where I knew that Jamal’s story needed to be told, the rest story was really a vessel to do so. I actually planned a very different story for Jamal, but I felt that the character needed to be established, his pain and loss captured and felt. I’m working on the original story now, which will be this books sequel. 

Which part of the story was easiest to write and which one the hardest?

The easiest was Jamal’s backstory in the halfway house. I found it very easy to imagine that place and the people in it. I also found the relationship between Jamal and Daniel to be very natural and the words just flowed out of me and onto the screen. The hardest part was really depicting the families reaction to the things that happen to Mary. How a young girl would react, talk and how her mother would etc… was difficult. I looked to my wife throughout the middle of the book for insights and ideas. She helped me to understand Mary, finding a place for her within Jamal’s story.

What would you say your message is? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

That’s a tough question, I don’t think I really ever set out to have a message. It’s interesting when you get feedback and thoughts from people on your book. People have picked out parts in the story that they connected to, explaining to me what they believe the significance of specific parts are and mean. When I read the story back to myself and I see it all unfold I think that the message is that life is a lesson, you make mistakes, sometimes the cost is substantial. The key is how you respond, what you do the next time to make amends. The book has been very well received so far, with most people enjoying the pace I set and the length of the book. It’s small but it packs a punch.

Who would play the characters in a film?

I would love a bunch of unknowns to act in a film adaptation of the book. I didn’t write the characters with anyone specific in mind and I would have to give careful consideration to who would be cast in the role as Jamal, knowing what I will demand of the character in future books.

What are your next projects? Have you written anything else?

I have completed a very rough draft version of a fantasy novel named “Malakh” which will be the first of a trilogy of books. It’s quite a significant piece of work in comparison to this novella, but despite that I do hope to have it completed and available for sale by May 2014. In addition to this I will be completing the sequel to Singing Sand in the coming months. It will follow on from the events of this book and will see the Nelson family finding themselves in another challenging situation. 

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

I live in sunny Adelaide, South Australia. For the past seven years I have worked for Australia’s largest Energy retailer in their customer service department. My favourite thing to do when I’m not writing is sharing a beer with my beautiful wife, relaxing outside with our little dog Hamilton.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

 One of my favourite authors is China Mieville, I loved “Perdido street station” and “The Scar.” Steampunk science fiction is something that I love both reading and watching. I’ve always connected to Tim Burtons style of storytelling and like magical, dark spins on everyday life. I also love the book “Magician” by Raymond E. Feist. As for movies I love many, for the sake of space on this blog I will stick to one… “The Matrix”, I love this film as much for it’s incredible special effects and remarkable storytelling as I do for my memory of first seeing it. I remember that it was the first movie where I walked out speechless, just letting everything I had seen be properly absorbed. 

What are your views on independent publishing?

When I first set out on publishing Singing Sand I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. My only experiences with books where with store bought copies by famous authors, so to tell you the truth I didn’t really have a clue that everyday people could have something printed and distributed. As you embark on the journey of self-publishing you quickly learn what works, how long things take and what people like. I think that it’s excellent how accessible books have become and personally I love the idea of ebooks. The fact that someone can get a copy of my book for a reasonable price anywhere in the world within seconds of adding it to their cart is remarkable. I do however believe that it is a saturated market and with millions of dedicated writers out there the competition is stiff. I really love having full creative control on everything I produce, all the way down to my personal branding. Being an independent publisher gives me that flexibility.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

I would highly recommend “Curve Day” by L. R. Currell & “Illuminating Gracie” by Lisa C.Temple

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

Best would be my sense of humour and oddest would be my sense of humour.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

My dog (he’s a cross with about three different breeds)/blue/Australian rules football (AFL)

What would you take to a remote island?

My wife, it would be a lovely little extended holiday

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

I would love to invite Will Ferrell for dinner, my wife and I would talk his ear off and drive him crazy with lines from his films.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

Currently working on the sequel to Singing Sand titled “Quietus.” The best way to keep informed on my work is to follow me

on Amazon http://bookShow.me/B00G8WREL2

on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/davidchattawayauthor 

or check out the website at   www.singingsandstory.com

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

Over the coming year I’ll be putting out another thriller/suspense novella and at least book 1 of the trilogy of Fantasy novels. I’m enthusiastic about writing and love to hear what people think of my writing so please check out the books website and my Facebook page. I love the idea of collaborating with other independent publishers so please do not hesitate to contact me!

21 Nov 2013

Author Bonnie Bernard

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Bonnie Bernard 1

 

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a very talented author. I have read so many of her books in fact that I found it hard to chose which one to feature here today, so I am going to lead with the interview and once you get to see what a lovely and funny woman Bonnie is, you can browse through a selection of my reviews.

Hi Bonnie, please tell us a little about yourself as a person and as author.

I’m a high desert rat who loves organic gardening, dark chocolate and cheese (eaten together), and hiking barefoot. I’m a two-time demolition derby champion, a foster dog mom, and a community social justice activist. I love my long-suffering husband, our fur-kids, and the little Rocky Mountain community that we call home. Bonnie Bernard is a pen name and my real life name writes (often unexciting) non-fiction stuff.

I like reading fiction (of course), planning adventures, and going crazy with pumpkin recipes every fall. I’m frequently featured on the local news, but not for anything bad (yet). Ha.

You have written quite a few books already. Tell us about your series.

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The first series is the Midnight Hunter trilogy. Book one is about good vs. evil vampires, book two explores the demon realm, and the third book is all about pesky Underworld gods. Then, readers wanted more of a particularly cantankerous demon named Howie Evil, so I’m writing the novella – Breaking Rule One.

I also have a short story anthology (Nature Calls), four stand-alone shorts, and another full-length novel, Rest Inn Peace.

Which is easier to write? Full-length novels or short stories.  Bonnie Bernard 2

Short stories are easier for me write, probably because of my short attention span. 😉 Still, I love the challenge of pulling messy threads together in a fun-filled series featuring wacky characters.

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I discovered the joys of writing by accident at the age of six while visiting the new home of my (then) best friend, Julie. The rooms were empty, the walls bright white, and a rainbow-shaded package of permanent markers was in a nearby box…I was never allowed in Julie’s house again and I was called some rather unflattering names, but I realized that one way to make a mark on the world is to write stuff down.

How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Something strikes me as hilarious or warped, a character comes to mind that would be affected by it, and then I sit back and let him/her tell me the story.

Why have you chosen to write in the paranormal genre? Would you ever consider writing something else?

Paranormal is fun because the rules are twisted. There ARE rules (the vampires I’ve written can’t go out in sunlight, for instance). I enjoy watching those rules frustrate my human and supernatural characters.

I’ve written non-fiction under my given name, and I might eventually publish a non-fiction piece or two under Bonnie’s name, just to make my Amazon page look fatter.

How did you create the plot and the titles for your books?

The characters make the plot and they usually tell me what title they want. Not always though. For instance, my husband came up with the title, “Rest Inn Peace” and I wrote the story around it.

Rest Inn Peace

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

I have perhaps one or two scenes planned. The characters take it from there.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Absolutely has to be Howie Evil. Who wouldn’t love telling the story of a 5000 year old belligerent, chain-smoking, human-hating, gun-toting demon from Hell who likes to tickle babies and eat cheese from an aerosol can?

What would your character(s) say about you?

Depends on which character you ask. Donna would say I remind her of Mo. Mo would say my husband reminds her of Trent. Zoe would say I’m a hippie hickster. Howie would just blow smoke in my face and call me a stupid human.

Would you say your books have a message and could you hint at it – for the confused?

A common theme for me is the twisted ways of social justice.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I love everything about writing except promoting.

How do you balance writing with family life?

Balance? What’s that? We’re happily dysfunctional at our house.

Did you have any say in your cover art? Tell us about the process.

I have all the say I want, but I hand it over to my cover artist, Jerry Skinner. He’s got graphic instincts I can’t even fathom, so I just give him a summary/manuscript and let him have at it. He does well. I could not ask for better.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?

I work wherever I am. During the cold months, I’m usually curled up on the living room couch, surrounded by spoiled rotten fur-kids. In the summer, I write in the garden. I also write on airplanes, cruise ships, in the mountains, and while camping. Right now, I’m in the passenger seat of our truck and we’re cruising down world-famous Route 66, heading toward our place in wild west Arizona. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is blaring on the radio and my husband is singing along.

How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book?

Gazillions. J More specifically…short stories, about three. Longer works – five or six. I have a very scattered brain-style and it takes a LOT of re-writing to herd my thoughts into sensible structure.

How do you edit and quality control?

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I just dig in and do it. Then I send my work to the beta readers.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

 I like self-publishing and have not even looked for a traditional publisher. Best part – I’m a wholly-owned and operated sole proprietor. Worst part – Promotion. I would share half my earnings with anybody who would promote me so I don’t have to.

What is your advice to new writers?

 Sit your butt down and do it.

Who are your favourite authors?

I like the classics, so anything by authors like Henry James, DH Lawrence, a Bronte sister, or Jane Austen.

I know you are very supportive of other writers, but who are your favourite independent writers?

I like your work. I’m also a fan of Robert Warr, Willow Cross, and Oleg Medvedkov.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I am currently reading Barker’s Dozen by Robert Warr. I’m reading it on my cellular phone because I just accidentally smashed my Kindle to death. It has been well over a year since I picked up a paperback or hardcover.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Oleg Medvdkov’s Invisible Bricks is a hilarious and brilliant short story anthology. For a great Native American/magical treat, try Bridalveil Falls by Sheryl Seal. And of course…Sebastian. I’m not just saying that to be nice. I recommend your books to everybody I know.

Who would you say are the biggest influences?

All authors. Life. Weird people. Vince Gilligan (of Breaking Bad fame).

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

Pretty much any of the classics.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

For the book I’m writing now, the best song is, “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. Old school.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I either stick my fingers in my ears and go, “La la la la – I can’t heeeeeeear you”, or I shrug and simply accept that not everybody is going to like my books. Having a pen name keeps me from taking anything too personally. It’s my happy detachment place.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Weird – Our city is built on a volcano.

Nice – We have geysers. J

Fact – Yellowstone National Park is home to 618 grizzly bears. (That doesn’t count black bears – which are much tougher to tally because they’re sneaky.)

What are you working on now?

A novella, “Breaking Rule One” – just for Howie Evil fans. Stay tuned, Christoph. You might be surprised by something in it.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

My characters like to tromp through readers’ heads and drive them half-mad. If you let them do that to yours, they will love you forever and Howie might let me live. Thank you!

This was fun. Thanks, Christoph. J

 

Find Bonnie on AMAZON 

and on Goodreads

and on Smashwords

and on Facebook 

and on Twitter https://twitter.com/BonnieBernard

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Here are some reviews of her magnificent work:

 “Rest Inn Peace” by Bonnie Bernard is a hilarious cross between humour and horror, you just could not make it up unless you were Bonnie herself.
The book is full of magic creatures who come to stay at the Rest Inn Peace, which is an Inn , not a motel. Since the death of the former Innkeeper Selma the place is in danger of being shut down. Selma’s grandson, Corbin (or Cobra like he would prefer to be called and not snakeman as he is nicknamed at the Inn!) takes over together with his 12 year old daughter. Corbin has just been released from prison, has many issues and refuses to acknowledge anything remotely magic, although that proves difficult in Rest Inn Peace.
Bernard has created an amazing cast of creatures that populate the place: Billy the Fairyman, a family of Yeti’s, Vampires, werewolves, Zombies, trolls and a “flamboyant disco ghost” to name a few. As the book states: The creatures who reside in it are ‘badass bitches’.
The book is full of great on-liners, hilarious dialogue and witty observations. I hate to use the phrase in a review but I laughed out loud many times and hope I will remember the crazy metaphors and word creations.
With much love to detail and imagination the book is spiked with delights. The rooms and the creatures have some very odd and most original and entertaining names. There is some chemistry with the Inn Manager Regina or Reggie, but Cobra still wonders whether he should stay at all.
Then there are murders and Cobra learns that the magical realm is nothing to play with.
This is great fun to read although I must warn you – if you haven’t guessed it yet – there is some fair amount of swearing and strong language.
This is a solid and original idea that works really well. There are some serious moments, too. Cobra has had substance issues and so has his ex-wife and so it is just as well that he is so far from human civilization.
A big fan of Bonnie Bernard’s other books I found this even better and look forward to the next mad but genial creations she comes up with.
Hugely enjoyable!

 

“Midnight Hunter” by Bonnie Bernard is the first in a series of books that promises to be a welcome addition to the vampire and paranormal genre collection. The book has a string of great characters and is as much a fun-filled romance novel as it is about vampires and suspense.
The story starts with a short prologue and a mysterious warning for little Donna by her grandmother about two men Donna is going to meet later in life, one good and one bad.
The narrative then jumps to the time just weeks before Donna’s 21st birthday. Donna and her best friend Mo are two typical young women with share a laugh and go out to meet men. 
Donna starts to have odd dreams, there is a series of kidnapped girls and in that chaos she meets Hunter, a vampire who calls himself her eternal love.
Bernard does a great job at showing the difficulties Donna has with trust, given the warning her grandmother gave her and the obscure nature of what Hunter tells her to be true.
Successfully blending the girlie parts with the paranormal this is a fun book, reminiscent to me as a casual visitor to the genre of True Blood, but pleasantly not as overdone as the TV series was for me. The writing is perfect and flows very easily and shows a writer with much talent.If you love Vampire stories this is for you, if you’re not a fan yet, this might be a good place to start exploring

 

“Nature Calls” by Bonnie Bernard was recommended to me by a good friend and it did not disappoint me. The book is hugely enjoyable for its suspense, the mystery and the dark horror or fantasy tales, some of which are cleverly blended with wit, fun and humour. Some pieces are very short that pointedly explore one idea and then there are longer ones and even one series of stories in which Yeti meets a space alien, a demon, the bigfoot hunters and even the holy man. The Yeti tales are probably my favourite, I laughed out loud when Yeti discusses the inconvenient parking space of the flying saucer. The stories are rarely predictable and with most of them I was surprised and fascinated by the outcome.
The selection covers a broad spectrum of themes and emotions, goblins, fairies, demons, witches, kings and gods. The stories are all well written and skilfully told and as a collection they work very well together. While many such collections are put on the market as soon as the author has gathered a book’s worth of material these seem to have been hand picked to form a great flow and a continuity that I did not expect from such a varied bunch of stories. The quality of both the ideas and the execution of them makes this a great achievement and the author one to watch.

11 Nov 2013

Author profile SHANE O’NEILL and his new release FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

2 Comments Book Reviews, News

 

 

Regular followers of my blog will know that I read little Horror. So it is with particular pleasure that I introduce one of those gifted writers that made me enjoy their work and go back for more. So far I have read and reviewed four of Shane’s work [I have attached the reviews at the end of this feature].

Here is the new book

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

[RELEASED TODAY]

and an interview with Shane. 

 

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

 

A war rages on around us every day. The struggle to save all mankind. The ultimate evil.

The battle for souls has raged since the truce that followed the First Great War of the Angels. God has struck the ultimate blow and sacrifice to gain the advantage and defeat His fallen angel and estranged son, Lucifer. As Lucifer stands at the foot of the Cross that drains the last ounce of life from Christ and eradicates man’s sins, he realises that his work must begin anew.
In time, he comes to understand that his only chance to win this battle will be to destroy the institution of the Catholic Church to turn man against God, once and for all. He searches for more than a millennium for the candidate to see his plan through to an end and finally discovers the one that can cast that final blow.

 

 

Interview with Shane:

Tell us a little about yourself as a writer and a person.

The writer has been in me for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid I wrote poems and short stories. It is what I have always wanted to be, though I have taken my time with my project. I wrote the first parts of it all the way back in 1984, about 50k words that will appear in one of the much later books. Then in 1992, I started the project proper. It took me thirteen years to write Reckoning Day and a first draft that is over 350k words long. I immediately followed it with Bound By Blood and The Gates Of Babylon, which I have since broken up into separate books owing to the length of the originals. I try and write in a way that engages the reader on every page. I want my readers to see everything as though they are standing there in the middle of it all. Many people have told me they do indeed feel this when they’re reading my work. Also, I want my reader to feel everything that each of my characters are feeling, and I go to great pains to achieve this.

As a man, I am someone who is devoted to those he loves, though circumstances in my life have often kept me apart from my loved ones. I am dedicated in the things I do, passionate over the things I care about and I try always to consider the feelings of others, whatever the situation.

What is it that fascinates you about Dracula? Is there a particular thing? When did the obsession begin?

The whole ethos that surrounds Dracula captivates me. I was sucked in from a young age with Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. His Dracula terrified me with his bloodshot eyes and long fangs, yet I was forever drawn to him. I watched all the other vampire/horror movies of the 1950’s and 1960’s, hooked on the adrenaline rush one gets from watching these at such a young age.

My interest, and yes, obsession, with Dracula grew over time when I discovered the real Vlad III Dracula who lived in the 15th Century. I collected and read so many texts over the years that I felt as though I knew him. Of course, historical texts lack a feel for who he was and the novels I read that attempted to create this, fell well short of who I saw him to be. Therefore, I made it a vocation to bring him to life in my books, but as a combination of both.

I do strive however to distance my character from Bram Stoker’s. The only similarity they share is their name. It irks me when people call my work a new take on an old legend, because it is nothing of the sort. This is an entirely new concept that bears little or no resemblance to the Stoker classic.

What made you decide to write such historical accounts of Dracula and when did you begin to write the other stories?

I began writing Reckoning Day, a part of the story based in the late 20th Century. After every three chapters I was going back in time to 1476 to the time of Dracula’s death. Initially, I wanted to give an origin and a background to the vampire in the story. When this part of the story continued to grow, I separated it and turned it into a book in its own right. Using the premise of Lucifer trying to ascend again to Heaven through the destruction of the institution of the Catholic Church, I had so much scope to work with. I put Dracula behind the scenes of every major event in the 16th Century where the influence of the Vatican was harmed or compromised. This allowed me to write about Martin Luther, Niccolo Machiavelli, the Borgias, the Tudors, and many of the great kings and popes of the day.

But I wasn’t satisfied with that, and after writing the section of the story from 1476 to 1612, I wanted to go back further in time to Dracula’s birth. I had planned to write about ten chapters and put it in at the beginning of the existing book, but 300k words later, I had only reached the halfway point in his life. I was, and still am, so in love with that period from 1431 to 1456 and the combined histories of the Romanias, Anatolia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary that the words just continued to flow. That will now become three books. I still have to cover the period from 1456 to his death twenty years later.

Tell us a little about the history of the books and your writing. How long did it take you to write and publish?

I have answered this question, in part, already. As I mentioned earlier, the first book I wrote – Reckoning Day – took me thirteen years to complete. It is a huge book though and will probably become 3 separate books at some point. I had a representative at that time who was well connected in literary circles around New York. She showed Reckoning Day to several of the publishing houses and well-established agents there. At the time, Kostova’s The Historian was due for release and the popular opinion was that it would not be a good time to have two Dracula novels competing with each other at the same time. I did have a couple of offers though, which I rejected. Some people have scorned me for doing this, but in hindsight it was the correct decision. The one publishing house I rejected certainly would have made my name well known. But had I chosen that route at that time, I’m not sure my concept would have evolved as it did and therefore I am happy with where I am today.

In 2006, I wrote the two large tomes that have now become Chronicles #1, #2, #3, #6 and #7. Over the next six years I re-wrote these between six and ten times, refining the story and bringing it all together. I released the two vampire books, #6 and #7 in December, 2012 and am now releasing #1 this week.

What is the easiest about writing and what is the hardest?

The easiest aspect for me has always been writing the story. Whenever I have sat down to write, the words just flowed for me. The hardest and most tiresome part will always be the editing process.

What is your favourite scary movie?

Definitely The Omen. An absolute classic.

What are your next projects? Have you written anything else?

Aside from The Dracula Chronicles, I will only be writing horror shorts for the foreseeable future. Those shorts are part of a series called Tales Of The Black Sabbath. In these, I explore the darker recesses of the human psyche.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

Life is very busy with work and getting my books out there. Norway isn’t the easiest country to make it as a foreigner, but I do have many good friends here.I work in mental health for the local authority. The greatest pleasure I have is time with my son, or with my daughters when I’m in the UK. Otherwise, I like being out in the countryside or enjoying a coffee with friends.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

Yes I’ve met and read books by some very good Indie authors. Some examples would be Luke Romyn, Katie Jennings, Ashley Fontainne, Travis Luedke and John Dolan. I hear this guy, Christoph Fischer, is really good too.

 Lol. Thank you. What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

Ugh I don’t really know. Maybe that when I love someone, it is absolute. On the negative side, I’m always re-stacking the dishwasher after people as it drives me nuts when everything just gets thrown in there.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

I’m a dog person myself and used to keep German Shepherds. I love those dogs. My favourite colour would be purple, closely followed by green. I love many outdoor activities, but walking out in the woods or in the wilds would probably be my favourite.

What would you take to a remote island?

The woman of my dreams, my vinyl collection and my laptop.

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

Oh, what a question. There are so many amazing people out there that I’d have loved to have had dinner with and chat to. Sadly, some of them are no longer with us. I wouldn’t mind having Marg Helgenberger around for dinner, though I’d probably be too busy staring at her to say much of anything.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

At the moment I’m working on the final draft from my 3rd editor for Chronicle #2, The Path To Decay, which I hope to release in December and then it is on to the final re-writes of Chronicle #3, The Gates Of Babylon. I also want to release a couple more of my horror shorts over the coming months. Busy, busy, busy. I try to keep all the information updated on my website www.draculachronicles.co.uk

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

I just want my readers to know that my primary objective is to entertain you. Nothing gives me more pleasure than mails and correspondence with people who have been wowed by what I have written. The Dracula Chronicles will introduce you to a fascinating world, engaging you with characters some of you may already be familiar with, and others that you won’t have heard of before picking up one of my books.

These stories are historical novels of Gothic horror, full of political intrigue, religious corruption, great battles, tragedy and romance. The premise is built completely around true historical events, which I manipulate to integrate my concept, though without deviating from the true course of these events. I also use myth and legend where necessary and I have filled one or two holes that historical texts do not give full clarification to. With all these elements combined, it makes for a captivating series of reads.

 

Shane the Author

 

Shane KP O’Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a new dimension to the Dracula myth. He has begun the series with a later Chronicle to give his readers the vampire first. The series then continues on with Chronicle #1, For Whom The Bell Tolls, to take you back to the beginning. 

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid lover of history, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject.  He built a concept and premise where he could accommodate both Dracula the vampire and Dracula the man.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He reads a lot of books from a wide variety of authors though his main interest lies in the horror genre.  His love of books is matched only by his love of the countryside and of course, his family.  As an added note, he has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels, he likes to search out locations with an historical interest and will always hunt for the ruins of an old castle before heading to the beach.

Amazon

US –  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00A75SM4O

UK –  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00A75SM4O

Website  www.draculachronicles.co.uk

Blog  www.draculachronicles.co.uk/blog

Twitter @ShaneKPONeill

Goodreads  http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/12341417-shane-o-neill

Youtube  http://www.youtube.com/user/DraculaChronicles

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/ShaneONeillsDraculaChronicles

 18342958

 “The Lamb of God” by Shane KP O’Neill tells the story of Dracula from the beginning, literally, the creation of the world. Telling the story of the biblical genesis but with slight alterations this is instantly captivating and fascinating. The story of Christ and finally the 15th century history and family genealogy Vlad Dracul are portrayed in one dramatic history lecture that leads up to the birth of Dracula.
As fan of history I hugely enjoyed this re-telling of the biblical gospel and O’Neill’s take on the Dracula story. Clearly familiar with the historical facts and the times he paints a great picture of how one would have to imagine the story. Written with an authoritative voice and in appropriate prose the short novel shows a creative idea executed with expertise and skill. A great accomplishment.

 

 

16217523The Dracula Chronicles: Bound By Blood – Volume 1” by Shane O’Neill is an excellent Dracula story. Combining the myth with history and significant events in the development of the Catholic Church the book has a lot to offer.

The story begins with one battle in a long winded struggle by Vlad III Dracula, Voivode of Wallachia to re-gain his throne and power. Close to victory he gets wounded and strikes a deal with Lucifer. Dracula is to gain eternal life in exchange for playing a significant role against the Catholic Church.
The books then follows Vlad III Dracula doing just that: In the Italy of the Medici’s and Machiavelli, the Court in London and in a Germany just before Luther’s reforms.
These historical elements in the book are really well done and make this an enjoyable and intelligent read that easily surpasses most Vampire and Dracula stories. There is a competence and power in this writing that makes the story feel very real, despite the paranormal aspects. 

The characters are well developed and the dialogue runs very smoothly. The paranormal aspects of the story are what I expected to like the least but they too are written with care and attention to detail. I often feel that as Vampires are the flavour of the season many writers make details about their Vampires and the life they lead up as they go along, leaving the reader with a lot of confusion and inconsistencies. O’Neill has avoided such downfalls and never lost my attention or trust. The book is powerful, competent and very engaging. 
Highly recommended for all fans of the genre but particularly for those who also appreciate literary quality.

 

07 Nov 2013

Constructing Marcus by Danielle DeVor

2 Comments Book Reviews

 Today I have the pleasure of introducing multi-talented writer Danielle DeVor, author of young adult books as well as horror for grown ups. 

Large Base Consstructing Marcus Working copy

“Constructing Marcus” by Danielle DeVor is a very sweet ghost hunting book, probably written for young adults but with enough appeal for this young reader.

Our heroine Emma is a teenager with an anorexic mother and an interest in ghost hunting. When the family moves to Boston from Florida she loses all of her friends but keeps up her good spirit and engages in some research regarding the house. When she finds out that a witch was killed in the house her interest is sparked, as are her emotions when she meets the attractive Marcus, a ghostly creature made by said witch.

It is hard to describe just how lovely the main character is, melancholic but strong and full of life despite her problems. She is mature for her age but also just a girl, which makes her extremely likeable, simply a great protagonist for such a book.

The ghost hunting part of the book is also handled well. We are all inundated with ghost hunting programmes on TV and watching Emma going about it in her unassuming and gentle way is a pleasant and refreshing change from that norm. The paranormal detective story and the suspense in this book are kept at a good pace to keep the interest going but also giving enough space for the other issues of the book, particularly the parent-child relationships. 
Those are also full of thought, DeVor spends a lot of time describing the parents and making interesting and varied as characters to stop falling into the trap of cliquee. I loved the mother with all her foibles and flaws and Marcus is also a fun character and one that many young female readers will enjoy reading.

I found this a low key yet hugely enjoyable read that I finished in almost one sitting. I would like my nieces to have a friend like Emma and a boyfriend like Marcus.

Interview with Danielle:

DeVorauthorpicsmall

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

I guess you could say that I have always been a very imaginative person. I can remember being a kid and creating very specific scenarios for the toys I was playing with at the time. Usually, it was a combination of Barbies and Star Wars figures. I really believe that helped me create worlds and situations in my writing as I got older.

What made you decide to write for / about young adults? And why did you chose to write about ghost hunting?

I am one of those people who felt the old John Hughes films- The Breakfast Club still remains my favorite film. So, for me, it was natural to tap into that age group and create my own worlds. Ghost hunting was something I wanted to add to Constructing Marcus. You always hear the old, “Write what you know” advice. And, well, I belong to a ghost hunting organization called the West Virginia Paranormal Research Society.

Tell us a little about the history of the book. How did you have the inspiration for your story and your characters?

 I have always been the kid that researches weird things, so finding odd occult information is nothing new. Several years ago, I stumbled across a book about séances and Ouija boards and there was a story about a group of spiritualists in England who essentially “created” their own ghost “constructed” from ideas, a made up personality, looks, and powers. It is said that if you visit this house, the “Construct” will still speak to you via a Ouija board. So, when I decided to write a YA Paranormal Romance, this old story popped into my head and I knew it was something I could work with.

Do you have a particular message you would like to convey?

I don’t really think of my writing as having a specific message, but I’m sure that my views on certain thoughts come out in my writing whether I mean them to or not.

How much of the stories was fixed before you started writing and how much changed during the process?

Not too much. I knew Emma’s name. Marcus went through several name changes. But, I knew I was writing about a teenage ghost hunter who moved into a spooky house in Boston. The rest kind of just came along as I wrote. I fully admit it, I’m a total punster.

Which of your characters was most enjoyable to write?

In this book, it was definitely Emma. I liked making her strong and not give into her mother’s mental problems.

Who would play them in a film?

Emma, I would like played by a young brunette. Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect.

Are you like any of the characters in the book?

I’m a little bit like Emma in terms of standing up for what I believe in, but she puts up with things a lot longer than I do. LOL.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

I currently live in West Virginia. Lots of mountains around. Right now, writing is my job. When I’m not writing or doing promo for my writing, I read, watch lots of horror films, and crochet.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Literary influences- Anne Rice, Stephen King, Richard Matheson.

My favorite books are: Blood Thrist by LA Freed, I am Legend by Richard Matheson, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. There are more, but that’s off the top of my head.

My favorite movies are: The Breakfast Club, The Lost Boys, The Shining ( the one with Jack Nicholson), and An American Werewolf in London.

My favorite albums are: The Rolling Stones Greatest Hits, Type O Negative Bloody Kisses, and The Soundtrack to the movie Queen of the Damned

What are your views on independent publishing?

I think it is a great option for authors if they can afford to do it right. Hiring a good editor and a good cover artist are expensive parts of the process.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

Travis Luedke’s The Shepherd, Maer Wilson’s Relics (her later books in the series will all be Self Pubbed), and Simon Okill’s Bigfoot series

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My best quality would probably be my loyalty to my friends. But, the oddest, would probably be that even though I’m an extreme horror film fanatic, I am afraid of the dark.

What are your favourite animal?

My favorite animal is the bat. I’ve even gone out with the DNR and helped tag bats for a study before.

What would you take to a remote island?

My favorite books. My harp. Tools to be able to make myself shelter and enable me to hunt for food.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

I would like to be invited for dinner by Hannibal Lecter if he was eating a normal meal. There is something about the character and intelligence he has that fascinates me. Of course, it would be like throwing treats to a shark, but it definitely wouldn’t be a boring evening.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I am currently working on the sequel to my vampire book, Tail of the Devil. I hope to have it finished by the first of December. You can find out about my already published books and future books at my blog/website 

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

I love hearing from readers, so feel free to contact me via social media. 

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @sammyig

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielledevorauthor

Website: http://danielledevor.wordpress.com

Book Buy links:

Tail of the Devil

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00CJHO7D8

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tail-of-the-devil-danielle-devor/1115225829?ean=2940016494050

Sorrow’s Point

Amazon: http://amzn.com/1939173418

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sorrows-point-danielle-devor/1117032105?ean=9781939173416

Constructing Marcus

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B00EVS384W

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/constructing-marcus-danielle-devor/1116804074?ean=2940148671886

Bio:

Danielle DeVor spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times.  After living briefly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved back to her hometown to write.  When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino.  Visit her at danielledevor.wordpress.com

 

 I have since had the opportunity to read Danielle’s other work and here are my reviews for them:

“Tail of the Devil” by Danielle DeVor is a well written Vampire Story about a 15 year old boy. Mathias Drvar has run away from his evil aunt who became his guardian after his parents dies in an accident.
Living on the streets of New York he occasionally earns money by doing odd job for a mysterious man named Nic. On one of those missions Mathias gets injured and awakes in the hands of Vlad Dracula.
This is where the fun begins, as Dracula hates being called by that name and the mighty Nosferatu prefers to be called Nossy. It turns out that Mathias is a distant relative and belongs to the Vampire lineage and will be taught how to be a Vampire and how to fight his enemies.
DeVor has created a very entertaining set of characters in this coming of age of a vampire tale. Mathias is a great if somewhat unlikely and often reluctant adolescent hero and his allies are equally colourful. With Mathias we learn more about the world of Vampires, Lilith the evil Queen and Mathias’ s special role.tail of the devil coverart largeThe use of language might keep it slightly out of bounds for the youngest of the younger audiences but although the tone is dark at times it always remains slightly light hearted. 
Written with much love for the genre and attention to descriptive detail this is a wonderful Vampire story that has a great warm feel to it at times and then takes you into captivating scenes of action. For fans of the paranormal and supernatural this must be a feast with its own take on the Vampire myth.
Now that Mathias is established I hope this will become a series of books that will let us follow our young hero on further adventures.
Very well done

LgSorrowsPoint

 

 “Sorrow’s Point” by Danielle DeVor reads like a classic horror novel. Beginning with an ominous and horrifying scene at a house in Sorrow’s Point in 1950 the tone is set for a dark and sinister tale.
In the present now an ‘almost’ priest and a witch are called to help a family that lives in the house now to exorcise a demon that possesses a 6 year girl and put up with the dreams, the noises and lots of other creepy scary stuff going on in there.
Told in separate narratives and with flashes back to 1950 we gradually unravel the secrets of the house.
The horror in this novel is subtle and it is everywhere, there is a continuous sense of impending doom and a sense of foreboding that permeates even the parts that do not deal with the exorcism. 
When a policeman arrives at the house in 1950 his reaction and shock are almost more unsettling than what actually will be shown to the reader. Likewise, when Jimmy, the man who would have been a priest, thinks about his life and whether or not he might be suitable as an exorcist, there is again a sense of anxiety and an acknowledgement of the magnitude of the task ahead. Tabby, the ‘witch’ brings her own brand of darkness to the table.
Nothing is as scary than a little innocent child behaving convincingly like a demon possessed monster and that is exactly what we eventually get. The scenes with her and the spirits were very scary to me.
The team is made up of great characters, each bringing a different angle to the story and with the uncovering of the past there is a mystery aspect to the story, adding to the richness of the reading experience.
This is a must read for fans of exorcism and horror.

03 Nov 2013

Andrew Lennon: A Life To Waste

3 Comments Book Reviews

18460861“A Life to Waste” by Andrew Lennon is an at times very creepy horror story that at several moments during the read had me at the proverbial edge of my seat. I am not usually a fan of the genre and read the book on the recommendation of a friend. 

Luckily I was far from disappointed.

We witness Dave wasting his life away after a car accident that ends his promising running career. Full of lethargy Dave begins a downward spiral of drinking and doing nothing.
Then some dreadful events in his apartment block bring terror to his life and he needs to come out of his self destructive cycle to save his own skin.

Lennon spends a great deal building up Dave and his background which pays of remarkably well when Dave is confronted with the sudden horror, the subtlety of which is brilliant by the way, as is the slow and gradual build up of the horrifying tension that spirals him into panic and paranoia. Dave is doubting his own sanity at times, probably as many of us would when experiencing what Dave goes through. 

However, I found that there is much more to this horror story than meets the eye. Dave is an interesting character in that he once had a perfect life that was taken away from him. We feel for him, despite some of his less likeable traits and actions. I would not classify this story as simple horror – even though it is pretty good at that part, no doubt.
No, I found the psychology of a failed or broken athlete and his late call to become responsible and turn his life around most rewarding as it adds depth to the story. I cannot say more without spoiling the book for you, only that there is a moral lesson in this book I would not have expected. To put the icing of the cake, the writing style, particularly at the beginning of the book, edges on literary realism, a brilliant tool in the portrayal of Dave’s broken life and a credit to the writer.

The book is well paced, gathering speed at the right time and keeping the momentum all the way to the dramatic end. With the ambiguity of Dave’s character the book was almost impossible to predict for this reader and so a compelling and very rewarding read. A lot of thought and work has gone into this short horror novel that I would highly recommend to fans of the genre and to those who won’t mind the horror but are interested in great psychological character development.

INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW:

First of all a very Happy Birthday Andrew. Thank you for honouring us with your presence on such a special day. Please tell us a little about yourself, as a writer and a person!
I am 28, I live with my wife and children. I work for my dads firm of accountants in Warrington.
I enjoy reading, writing, camping and spending time with my family.
What inspired you to write this story? What was your motivation?
I quit smoking and drinking and found that I had a lot of free time on my hands. I thought I would try and make that time productive so decided to write the book.
The book is very subtle in its horror. What is your favourite scary book?
My favourite scary book is “The Shining” I read this when I was younger and I was on holiday, staying in a hotel. I struggled to sleep after that!
Your book also touches on a few deeper issues, such as confidence, morals and physical ability. Was that accidental or part of the plan?
This was a part of the plan, I have encountered quite a few people in my life who have had drink/drug problems, and some that just don’t appreciate what they have around them. Hopefully when some of them read this book it will plant a little message for them.
How much of the stories was fixed before you started writing and how much changed during the process?
Pretty much the whole story was fixed before I started writing. I planned each chapter out, only about five lines on each, but enough to keep the idea of what I wanted to happen fresh in my head.
How did you have the inspiration for your story and your characters?
The story was planted when I hear people arguing, they argue all the time. I thought, one day they’re going to kill each other and no one will even go to check on them.
The characters are made from a combination of people I have met during my life, me included. I mixed them all together and that was the result.
Do you have a particular message you would like to convey?
Yeah, just try to appreciate the life you have. It may not be perfect, but if you work at it and try hard you can at least make it enjoyable for yourself and the people around you.
Which of your characters was most enjoyable to write?
He only had a very small part, but I think I enjoyed writing about Trevor the most. He reminded me of an old school friend so it brought back a lot of memories.
Who would play them in a film?
I think Kieffer Sutherland would be perfect for Dave.
Perhaps Dave Grohl for Trevor? Don’t know if he would like to act, but he looks the part.
Unsure on who to play the freak? Someone big and scary, maybe Kane from WWE?
Are you like any of the characters in the book?
I used to have a few of Dave’s characteristics, drinking, lazy etc. I like to think I have grown out of that now.
What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?
My life is great, I am happily married. I work for my fathers firm of accountants for a living. Ideally I would like to write full time, but I think that is a long way off yet.
Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?
Love Stephen King, books and movies, The Shining, Stand By Me (favourite film of all time), The Green Mile
I was reading “The Summer I Died” by Ryan C Thomas, when I actually felt inspired to go and write a book myself.
What are your views on ind7257030ependent publishing?
I think it’s brilliant. It gives the everyday writer a chance to get their stories out to the world. It doesn’t matter whether they are majorly successful or not, just that they had hundreds or thousands of people read their work, and hopefully enjoy it.
Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?
I can recommend pretty much any author in the ASMSG group. They are all very talented writers and quite a few have helped me out already.
Also, take a look at Calvin Wade, his novel “Forever Is Over” is one of the best books I’ve read in years. It was through his advice and help that I became self published.
What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?
What seems like never ending burping would probably be one of the oddest.
Best quality, I dunno. I never turn down a chance to help someone. Maybe that?
What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?
Dog, Blue, Barbeque.
What would you take to a remote island?
I suppose I should say my family, but only so they were stuck with me haha
Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?
Al Pacino, Stephen King, Samuel L Jackson, Adam Sandler and Russell Brand. I just think it would be an awesome crowd and a hilarious dinner.
What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?
I am in the middle of writing a book with I think will be called “October Murders”, it’s still a long way off yet. You can check out updates on me through Goodreads or through thewritersroom.co.uk
08 Oct 2013

Ben Manning: The Vril Codex

2 Comments Book Reviews

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Vril is a force which to its believers can heal or destroy.’ For famous journalist Jane Wilkinson, a peaceful architectural assignment in Berlin is a chance for some much needed relaxation. Until she notices that something very sinister is happening… she is touched by an occult evil more terrifying than anything she has ever known. An evil that will engulf her and reach out remorselessly to her husband Bob who is literally haunted as he tries to discover her fate and what lies beneath the ancient legend of the VRIL CODEX’
Part romance, part conspiracy thriller, involving Nazi’s, and the mysterious cults of the “Thule Society,” and the “Devils Bible.” Supernatural forces and conspiracies combine, leading Bob and his companions into danger and a confrontation with the ancient Vril power’.

“The Vril Codex” by Ben Manning is an unsual and to me a highly original read.
While the main protagonist is a widower and tries to overcome his grief with a work trip to Berlin, the plot edges into paranormal area and sheds light on some supernatural cult around Hitler and his hardcore followers.
I have read quite a few stories and articles about it, all handled as rumours, but their existence is so persistent that the plot – speculative conspiracy as it may be – sounds very plausible to me.
The book is well written and held my interest throughout.
The most pleasant aspects of the book are that the characters are so real and believable, more dimensional and that the storyline is far from flat, as I find so often with books in the genre.
I found it a compelling and fascinating read.

 

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Hi Ben

Your novel has quite an unusual theme. Can you explain it to my readers quickly. How did you hear about it and when did you decide to write this story?

Sure I was influenced to write this novel series  – the Vril Chronicles – by reading “Morning of the Magicians”- a cult new age book that covered everything from secret societies to the unexplained.  It was strangely written and published back in 1962 ish but influenced me as did a rather tacky but interesting history channel documentary aired in 2009.  It was in 09 that I completed my first draft, which I rewrote at author workshops in 2010.  Then I got it published in 2011 and 2012 but the final edition with a reputable publisher has come out in 2013. 

How did you research for it? Especially since so much of the information is contested. What was the most fascinating aspect in the research and the writing for you?

I enjoyed travelling to Germany a lot and finding obscure libraries and meeting characters that influenced the book.  To be honest the internet was useful but I enjoyed meeting real people such as Anthony J Hilder who is probably the most unusual conspiracy theorist out there with a fascinating past in entertainment. I also wrote off to lots of obscure people and cults to differentiate what I was writing with what’s really out there, when it comes to Vril.  There are some rare books on the subject but not a lot is out there.  Not many people realize the esoteric traits of Hitler and especially Himmler, either with the Vril Society or the Thule Society or the Black Sun.  There is some on youtube and many obscure pamphlets were printed about it after the war.        

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

Well the plot was kind of roughly planned but I added to it as I went along. I knew nothing much had been written on Vril and the Nazi’s but paranormal Nazi’s have been written on a lot – from Indiana Jones to James Herbert – so I wanted to create my own myths and figures rather than just using Norse myth and Hitler.  That would have been obvious; they were just the starting point.  Hence my characters such as Helena Hister and the whole mythos around that, that I invented. More recently there have been a few more vril novels out there but it is still few and far between.  There are hundred on the spear of destiny and the Nazi’s for example. As I often say – mine was the first ever on vril and the nazi’s – a fact I am proud of.    

This is part of a series. How many books will there be and can you tell us where this will be going – without any spoilers?

Well part 2 was self-published in 2012 but that will have a proper final release, possibly with Double Dragon Publishing.  That is set in Dresden and is called the Dresden Benefactor.  It is more of a mystery and the one I am working on right now is more of a thriller perhaps.  

How did you choose the characters for the story?

I wanted characters people could relate to.  It is hard trying to be original because you have to produce characters that are familiar so to an extent they have to be based on universal types.  I did base Warwick Blake – a psychic archaeologist – on the late Michael Baigent who was co-author of “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail”. 

How did you come to writing in the first place? Apart from this historically themed blend did you have other genres in mind, too?

I wouldn’t call the Vril series historical fiction as it is set in the present but yes there are historical elements.  I did think of making it more science fiction like because of the aliens and UFO’s but then the whole vril universe is very “Fantasy” too – couple that with the fact that there are paranormal romance elements and crime thriller ones that we have one of the strength’s to critics a possible weakness .  It is primarily a thriller but does genre hop.  But why not break the rules?!  

I wrote short stories as a small child and poetry (cringe!) and as a teen and in my twenties mainly did journalism.  Then in my thirties I decided to turn to novels as I felt the need to be creative. 

Who is your favourite character and why?

Warwick Blake- 

This is simply because he is an interesting outsider.  I imagine him portrayed by Michael Gambon. 

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

Yes –

I guess Bob is loosely based on me.  Make of that what you will!

Did you have any say in the cover art and who was that process?

To be honest both covers came largely from my idea.  I still do not think there has been a definitive cover and vril 2 and 3 are yet to have a professional cover done.  I do like vril codex’s second “alien” cover most which I designed with Riley Steel. 

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

Best aspect is when people like it and the worse is when people don’t but then no writer in history is liked by everyone.  I love the creative highs but I don’t like the writer’s block lows.  I am also dyslexic which makes me a slow writer. 

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

With difficulty!  I know the internet has opened up some opportunities but it is also a boon to criminal publishers.  I worked in marketing and part of me is repulsed by mixing it with my creative side.  In the past, if you had the money to self-publish  – pre web – marketing had to be done by the writer or paid for.  These days whether you self – publish or go with a publisher you still have to promote which is kind of a shame as it used to be more the domain of marketing at the publishers.  

What do you do when you don’t write?

I am a keen actor. 

What would be the cast in a Hollywood or British film?

Michael Gambon or Bill Nighy as Warwick

Rufus Sewell as Bob – depending on budget!  If not – me! 

Romola Garai as Jane

Who are your biggest influences?

Rod Serling

Alfred Hitchcock

Roald Dahl

Gothic Horror

M.R James

Hammer Horror and Amicus  – Vincent Price, Peter Cushing ect…

Which are your favourite books and authors?

I have always loved I Claudius by Robert Graves.

Other favourites are Douglas Adams, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Herbert and Isaac Asimov.

I would also pick Roald Dahl as an author and Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a poet.
Dahl always fascinated me with his short stories for “Tales of the unexpected” on the TV from “someone like you” and “kiss kiss” – but what im most impressed by is that he could write, horror, humour –in a book like “my uncle Oswald” and for children with stories like “Charlie and the chocolate factory”. I think he understood the way people think – in terms of how children feel and react and also the very adult world of intrigue, where there is always a moral twist. A tribute I wrote to both him and Coleridge is at the Roald Dahl museum here in the UK.

ST Coleridge – I would love to know his theories on the universe and life in general, as well as the subconscious and life after death.  Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner is incredible and I used to work at his cottage where he lived in 1797 and wrote it. 

Douglas Adams – “The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” 
Aldous Huxley –”Brave new World”

Voltaire – “Candide”  *** Charles Dickens –”A Christmas Carol” *** George Orwell – 1984

 *** Edgar Allen Poe – Murders in the Rue Morgue *** Mary Shelley – Frankenstein.

Which indie writers can you recommend?

Terry Ravenscroft.  His books make me laugh a lot. 

What would you take to an isolated island?

A cat

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

David Bowie

What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?

I am in a forthcoming major horror film called “Zombie Snuff Movies”  and I am interviewed in the major magazine “Haunted after Dark” who are sponsors of the British Horror film festival held in Leicester Square, London. 

Links –

http://vrilcodex.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vril-Codex/151342004886833
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vril-Codex-Fanpage/192024584186066
Twitter – “@TheVrilCodex”

New from DOUBLE DRAGON publishing…the number one award winning publisher…the VRIL Codex…a paranormal thriller and the first to ever be written on vril and the Nazi’s…conspiracies and norse myth…

http://www.amazon.com/The-Vril-Codex-ebook/dp/B00EPQT0GA/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1377430967&sr=8-1&keywords=vril+codex

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Vril-Codex-ebook/dp/B00EPQT0GA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377432705&sr=8-1&keywords=vril+codex

 

 

 

 

 

 

03 Aug 2013

NEW RELEASE: “RUNE II: NEMESIS ” BY J. H. GLAZE

1 Comment Book Reviews

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One of my favourite writers, master of horror J.H. Glaze has released NEMESIS, Episode II of the thrilling YA series RUNE.

Send the demons back to Hell!

At the stroke of midnight on Jacob Rowan’s 18th birthday, he undergoes a transformation that will change our world forever, if only he can survive another day. He learns that his entire life up to this point was a lie, but there’s no time to dwell on it, as he quickly discovers that there are demons desperate to kill him.

With the help of an unlikely mentor and newly formed alliances, he must decipher the language of his ancestors to recover a set of ancient scrolls. These documents hold the key that will open the gateway to the demon’s hellish world and send them back before the final curtain is drawn on all of humankind.

In this new YA Thriller Series, author J.H. Glaze takes his readers on an adventure that spans thousands of years and multiple geographic locations as it races headlong toward its electrifying conclusion.

“Rune Episode II: Nemesis” by J.H. Glaze is a great second instalment of this new series by the very talented master of horror. As this is directed at young adults the horror is less gruesome and presented with a focus on entertaining yet in a strong and powerful style.
Episode II begins where Episode I left us: in the vault of a bank where our hero Jake receives a message by his late grandmother. He learns about his special mission in the battle against demons from hell and how to fight them.
Episode II is less action driven as it is a widening of the plot for the future instalments and introduces more characters that will be no doubt prominent in the next few books. There are some hilarious scenes in the book regarding his companion Pete who inhabits the body of a dog is due a visit to the vet.
Somewhat quieter than Episode I, Nemesis is more playful and stays true to Glaze’s tradition never to repeat himself or resort to formulaic writing. Great entertainment.JHGlaze (1)

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Rune II on Goodreads

Rune II on Amazon.com

Rune II on Amazon.co.uk

My previous feature on J.H. Glaze

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