Subscribe: The Poisoned Apple
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
bestwick  black static  black  book  bureau  dark  horror  priya sharma  priya  read  short  simon  static  stories  story  year 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: The Poisoned Apple


...a writer of weird things. Scary only in ink.

Updated: 2018-04-18T02:45:00.308+01:00


My Reading Year 2017


The talent of current short story writers, especially within the horror, fantasy and science fiction genres, is immense, making choosing my favourite short stories of the year very difficult. In the end, out of the 241 stories I read, I chose those that wowed, that I thought award-worthy, and which scored 8½ or above on my unscientific scale. I also read 9 novellas and 36 novels (hope to improve on that figure next year).Here are my favourites:NOVELLASThe Booking - Ramsey CampbellThe Bloody Chamber - Angela CarterSkyshine (or Death by Scotland) - Carole JohnstoneNaming the Bones - Laura MauroOf Sorrow & Such - Angela SlatterNOVELSThe Time Keeper - Mitch AlbomBlacklands - Belinda BauerThe Beautiful Dead - Belinda BauerDevil in Red (unpublished) - Simon BestwickThe Manchunian Candidate (unpublished) - Simon BestwickThe Girls - Emma ClineThe Girl on the Train - Paula HawkinsThe Haunting of Hill House - Shirley JacksonWe Have Always Lived in the Castle -Shirley JacksonHater - David MoodyA Monster Calls - Patrick NessSHORT STORIES Into Gold - Krista Ahlberg (Red Rose Review)Mental Diplopia - Julianna Baggott (Tor)The Misericord - AK Benedict (Black Shuck Books - Green & Pleasant Land)Breakwater - Simon BestwickHorn of the Hunter - Simon Bestwick (The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories)The Library of Lost Things - Matthew Bright (Tor)Seven Minutes in Heaven - Nadia Bulkin (Nightmare)The Lily Rose - Emily B Cataneo (The Dark)The Swans - Ray Cluley (Black Static)Is-And - Claire Dean (Dead Letters)The Beautiful Thing We Become - Kristi DeMeester (The Dark)Dogsbody - Malcolm Devlin (Black Static)Perspective - Steven J Dines (Black Static)Room Tone - Brian Evenson (The Masters Review)Whipping the Dead - Jen Finelli (Pantheon)En La Case de Fantasmas - Brian Holguin (Shimmer)A Nest of Ghosts, A House of Birds - Kat Howard (Uncanny)The Lottery - Shirley JacksonFlower Garden - Shirley JacksonSongs to help you cope when your mom won't stop haunting you and your friends - Gwendolyn Kiste (Black Static)Buyers Remorse - Andrew Lane (Dead Letters)Signal - John Lanchester (The New Yorker)Flotsam - Tim Lebbon (The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories)Shell Baby - VH Leslie (Shadows & Tall Trees)The Mysteries - Livia Llewellyn (The Dark)The Spook School - Nick Mamatas (Nightmare)Over to You - Michael Marshall Smith (Dead Letters)Strange as Angels - Laura Mauro (Black Shuck Books - Green & Pleasant Land)Sun Dogs - Laura Mauro (Shadows & Tall Trees)Will you Accept these Flowers From Me? - Ralph Robert Moore (Black Static)In the Days of our Lives - Adam Nevill (Dead Letters)Rapture of the Deep - Thana Niveau (Unquiet Waters)The Curtain - Thana Niveau (The Dark)The Reflection - Thana Niveau (Unquiet Waters)Flowers of the Sea - Reggie OliverThe Veils - Ian Rogers (The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories)Monster Girls Don't Cry - A Merc Rustad (Uncanny)Shallaballah - Mark Samuels (Nightmares: A Decade of Modern Horror)Pearls - Priya Sharma (Nightmare)Lump in your Throat - Robert Shearman (The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories)Things Crumble, Things Break - Nate Southard (Nightmare)Every Black Tree - Natalia Theodoridou (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)A Home in the Sky - Lisa Tuttle (Black Static)Painter of Stars - Wang Yan & Translated by Andy Dudak (Clarkesworld)[...]

Sherlock Holmes's School for Detection


I am very excited to announce that my story, The Gargoyles of Killfellen House, is available to read in Sherlock Holmes's School for Detection, published by Robinson and edited by the gracious and talented Simon Clark.

Other authors include Simon Bestwick, Carole Johnstone, Alison Littlewood, Paul Finch, William Miekle, Steven Saville, and Guy Haley. You can purchase it in the usual places including Amazon UK and US.

Here be an extract:

Sometimes father scares me. I push him too far. At least, that's what mother says. Running from the room would have made me appear weak. Instead, I retrieved the newspaper, righted the lamp and headed to the roof where I could rant and rage and only gargoyles would notice. Oh, to be taught by the great Sherlock Holmes!

Although mother and James stood directly below me, due to the stillness of the day their voices did not carry to the roof forcing me to lean far forward. Beside me, Tweedledum wobbled but I righted him. Time must have weathered the gargoyles base. At this moment, my investigation into its instability ventured no further. Then James laughed and he sounded so much like Ted that I wanted to cry. If only father would open the telegram. I ache to know what happened to my brother.

He's dead. Will knowing the cause ease the pain of that?

Vicky's World


Many of you know I started a card business (The Handmaidens Tale) over on Etsy last year (still loving it) and it's doing far better than I expected. My study is suffering though as it is trying to balance my writing and my card making and is about the size of a wardrobe.
One of the joys of Etsy is discovering new artists and I am particularly interested in other card makers and regularly buy cards from other sellers. One I've discovered recently is Vicky's World and her artwork, mostly collages, is outstanding. The above piece is titled 'Flights of Fancy' and below are a few more examples of her extraordinary work.


Motherhood of the Monstrous


Due to the success of the Women in Horror Month project - Motherhood of the Monstrous - over at Ginger Nuts of Horror, Jim McLeod has decided to keep it as a regular feature. Today, my article 'Now Coward Soul is Mine' appears and features an author who influenced my writing and a writer to watch (hint: clue is in the book cover).

Last month, Laura Mauro kindly mentioned me in her article. A great honour especially as I'm a huge fan of Laura's writing.

Women in Horror Month - Ginger Nuts


It's February, it's Valentines Day, and my gorgeous husband's birthday, and my adorable niece and nephew's birthdays and the Wallet Moths are tearing at their paper wings.

February also means Women in Horror month and the wonderful Jim McLeod of Ginger Nuts of Horror is celebrating. Jim has invited a bunch of horror writers to write about the female writer who inspired them to write and a female writer who is publishing now that we should all take notice of. The series kicks off today with Nancy Kilpatrick who talks about Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson and Tanith Lee, alongside Sandra Kasturi and Colleen Anderson. My article will appear some time this month featuring Emily Bronte, Enid Blyton and... (ooh, the suspense).

Other events:

Mark West will be publishing his Mixtape Blog Post where writers will be recommending horror stories by women. I will be wittering on there too.

Kevin Bufton will be hosting interviews with female horror writers. Yes, yes, I may be talking nonsense there too.

Favourite Short Stories of 2016


2016 has seen some amazing fiction published and I managed to (mostly) keep a list of my favourite short stories this year. In alphabetical order (by author) they are:And Ashes in Your Hair by Simon Bestwick (Something Remains - anthology)The Wrath of the Deep by Simon Bestwick (The Hyde Hotel)The Scythe by Ray BradburyWhite Rabbit by Georgina Bruce (Black Static)The Great Silence by Ted Chiang (Electric Lit)A Tale Before Supper by Ray Cluley (This is Horror)S.K. by James Cooper (Postscripts 36/37)Damnatio Ad Beastias by Kristi DeMeester (Apex)Floodwater by Kristi DeMeester (The Dark)The Sound That Grief Makes by Kristi DeMeester (The Dark)The Marginals by Steve Duffy (Black Static)Melpomene's Heirs by Evan Dicken (Clowns - anthology)A Whisper in the Reeds by Nerine Dorman (African Monsters - anthology)Shadow Boy by Lora Gray (Shimmer)Foul is Fair by Tyler Keevil (Black Static)The Ice Plague by Tim Lees (Black Static)Postcards From Natalie by Carrie Laben (The Dark)Man of the House by V.H. Leslie (Black Static)The Blue Room by V.H. Leslie (The Hyde Hotel - anthology)The Oestridae by Robert Levy (Black Static)Anthony's Vampire by Seanan McGuire (Nightmare)Trying to Get Back to Nonchalant by Ralph Robert Moore (Black Static)On the Road by Nnedi Okorafor (African Monsters - anthology)Rusties by Nnedi Okorafor & Wanuri Kahiu (Clarkesworld)The Chickens and the Three Gods by Kit PowerTohoku by Danny Rhodes (Black Static)The Old Roads by Lynda Rucker (Burrow Press)Blonde by Priya Sharma (Interzone)Egg by Priya Sharma (Mithila Review)The Jacaranda Wife by Angela Slatter (The Dark)Dog by Reece Shearsmith (Dead Funny - anthology)Deep within the Marrow, Hidden in my Smile by Damien Angelica Walters (Black Static)Sugar, Sin & Nonsuch Henry by Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Stars - Collection)Darkness and Darkness by Robert Freeman Wexler (Postscripts 36/37)Reapers Rose by Ian Whates (Nightmare)The Men from Narrow Houses by A.C. Wise (Liminal)[...]

Favourite Fiction of 2016 - Novels & Novellas


My favourite novels of the year:

Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Feast of All Souls by Simon Bestwick
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang
Day Four by Sarah Lotz
Slade House by David Mitchell
The Life & Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
They Say a Girl Died Here Once by Sarah Pinborough
Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M Yardley

My favourite Novellas of the year:

Lantern Rock by Stephen Bacon
Stag in Flight by S.P. Miskowski
The Hammer of Dr Valentine by John L Probert

My Writing Year - 2016


For me, 2016 has been the year of unfathomable exhaustion and (as a very dear friend put it) no headspace. Despite that, I somehow managed to tick a few things off the bucket list.

First off, two of my stories were shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award (Short Story and Novella categories). Then, later in the year, I sold a story to The Dark, and then, just this month, I found out that the story As Cymbals Clash, has been chosen for Paula Guran's The Years Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017. Serious Bucket List moments.

So, what has been published this year.

Snowbooks re-released my novella, The Bureau of Them.
Frightful Horrors released an ebook, Shadow Moths, containing two of my short stories - Blood Moth Kiss and We Make our Own Monsters Here.
The Coyote Corporation's Misplaced Song in The Hyde Hotel (anthology)
In the Macabre Theatre of Nightshade Place in Postscripts
As Cymbals Clash in The Dark 
A Silent Comedy in Clowns - The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix (anthology)

Forthcoming in 2017
As Cymbals Clash in The Years Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017
The Gargoyles of Killfellen House in Sherlock Holmes's School For Detection

Will post my favourite novels/short stories of the year tomorrow.

Into The Dark



The December 2016 issue of The Dark is out and alongside my story, As Cymbals Clash, you can read stories by Priya Sharma, Thana Niveau and Steve Rasnic Tem. What a line up! Many thanks to Sean Wallace and Jack Fisher for accepting the story.

A couple of reviews have already rolled in...

Review by Charles Payseur:

"It's a great story with a vivid flow and a balanced look at Godfrey, who is tragic, who is victim and perpetrator, who is damaged and damaging." You can read the rest of the review over at Quick Sip Reviews. 

Review by Sam Tomaino:

"A real chill that builds to the end." You can read the rest of the review at SFRevu.

It was a joy to work with Sean Wallace again.Way back in 2009, he published my story Trench Foot in Fantasy Magazine. My first pro-paying sale. Delighted to see it's still available to read online.

A Fairytale Forest


Behold the beauty of Victoria Leslie's artwork. I am totally in love with it. Not only is Victoria an extremely talented writer, writing as V.H.Leslie, and a stunning person, it seems she also has an incredible talent for visual art.

If you're in Portsmouth this weekend you'll find Victoria's artwork on display at venue no. 10 - full details here and here.

Well that was Fantasycon by the Sea


A week has passed since the wonderful Fantasycon by the Sea and I've just about found my land legs. I had a blast - from the usual excitement of meeting up with everyone again, of passing hugs and hellos, to relaxing into a weekend full of chats, panels and free wine. Free wine which included a corked bottle of Prosecco that accidentally uncorked and attacked a fellow attendee. Oops! I'm bouncy + it was gassy = disaster. .The Prosecco was courtesy of Emma Barnes of Snowbooks, leftover from the awesome launch for the Snowbooks Horror Novellas, where my book, The Bureau of Them, was relaunched. I spent the launch seated between the wonders that are John Llewellyn Probert and Gary Fry. As I was high on a bottle of Lucozade (it doesn't take much) I may have driven them ever so slightly insane. But hey, I was excited and it's not often I get to launch a book. Wonderful to finally meet Emma and Tik Dalton of Snowbooks.I want to say the highlight of my weekend was the launch but it was probably spending a good part of Saturday with 'The Girls'. An awesome, talented, amazing group of writers - Priya Sharma, Laura Mauro, Georgina Bruce, Victoria Leslie, Tracy Fahey - who I am honoured to call friends. They certainly made my con. It was the first time I'd met Georgina and she is an absolute blast. We bumped into Alison Littlewood and Fergus on our way to the con. Thankfully not literally bumped into them as that would have been catastrophic. They were driving beside us on the A road and then they sped in front and we followed them most of the way. Very surreal. My most-wanted book purchase of the weekend was Alison's new novel 'The Hidden People'. Did not spend anywhere near enough time with them.Favourite panel was 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun'. with Priya Sharma, Maura McHugh, Catriona Ward, Heide Goody and Ann Nicholls. They could have chatted for a few more hours and not run out of things to say. Although they may have needed wine. Favourite reading was Kit Power's chicken story. Someone should have filmed it. Brilliant. I highly recommend catching him read at the next convention. I so need to unearth Godbomb from my to read bookcase. Yes, we are way past the 'to read shelf'. Oops! moment of the weekend was (high after the launch) kidnapping Jess Jordan (who is modelling the Snowbooks novellas at the top of this post) and forcing her to drink free wine. I was at this point carrying around an open bottle (would you believe I don't drink much?). The oops - when Ray Cluley found us and asked what time Priya's reading was. I'd forgotten (sorry Priya). We ran like the wind (making sure not to spill any wine) and made it just in time. Due to my lateness I was stuck behind a pillar and didn't hear a word but I'm sure it was awesome. Her stories are always awesome.As to Priya, she WON the BRITISH FANTASY AWARD for BEST SHORT STORY. Oh my goodness! What a moment. So well deserved. I may have cried a little. With joy. Although, I was concerned people may think I was crying because I didn't win. I saved that for when I crawled under the blanket when I got home. With wine. Several bottles of wine and bars of chocolate. This is why I've only just found my land legs. Kidding.Although, I did spend the first two days in bed trying to remember my name. Roll on next year. [...]

Fantasycon by the Sea 2016


I've finished work for the week and Friday we're up bright and early to head off to the awesomeness that is Fantasycon. This year it's in sunny Scarborough. I've printed out a list of everything I want to attend, which leaves me no time to eat or pee. I've even graded my interest in each panel - haven't resorted to colour coding yet.

The one thing I have to attend is the Snowbooks launch of my novella, The Bureau of Them, which is being launched alongside novellas by Ray Cluley, Andrew Hook, John Llewellyn Probert, Mark Morris, and Gary Fry. We'll be sharing the room with Titan who are releasing books by Mark Morris, Tim Lebbon and Marc Turner. Not an event to be missed.

It's on the Saturday, 2:00 to 3:00 pm in the Main Ballroom of the Grand Hotel.

Oh, and for those attending the launch, there is a limited (about twenty - unless I have another mad creative fit between now and Fantasycon) amount of my handmade cards available. They're awesome. Trust me. Awesome and free.

I'll also be at the British Fantasy Awards on the Sunday where both Bureau and Mark's novella, Albion Fay, are nominated in the novella category. Also my short story, When the Moon Man Knocks, is nominated for Best Short Story - alongside the awesomeness that is Priya Sharma's Fabulous Beasts.

And on Saturday evening (11:30 pm in the Reading Cafe, Royal Hotel), Simon Bestwick will be reading an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, The Feast of All Souls, which has a cracking cover and is released on the 6th December. You can pre-order it on Amazon.

See you there, kids.

Like Buses


You wait forever for a blog post and then two come along at once. Before you know it this blog will be properly resurrected.

Des Lewis has real-time reviewed my e-collection Shadow Moths and lovely to see the words 'This story affected me deeply'. It's always an honour to be reviewed by Des.

In other exciting news, my story As Cymbals Clash has been accepted by Sean Wallace and Jack Fisher at THE DARK for publication in December. A bucket list moment.

Shadow Moths


I've been rather quiet on the publication (and writing) front of late, but like buses I have two books out within the space of a month. First off is this e-chapbook, which contains two of my short stories - We Make Our Own Monsters Here (a tale of puppetry) and Blood Moth Kiss (nuclear war and betrayal). One may be darker than the other. And, it comes complete with an introduction by Simon Bestwick. I have no idea (wink-wink) how I got such an amazing author to write the introduction for me. For those who don't know - reader, I married him.

It's available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Here's a video of the song that inspired one of the stories. I'll leave you to guess which...

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">



Next month at Fantasycon, the above horror novellas (published by Snowbooks) will be released in sunny Scarborough. For those who can't make it to FCon the books are now available to pre-order from Amazon in both hardback and paperback.

The novellas are:

Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow by Ray Cluley
The Bureau of them by Cate Gardner (that's me)
The Greens by Andrew Hook
The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine by John L Probert
The Hammer of Dr Valentine by John L Probert
Albion Fay by Mark Morris
Scourge by Gary Fry

The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine won the British Fantasy Award in 2013 (and it's a cracking book), while The Bureau of Them and Albion Fay are nominated in the novella category of this year's British Fantasy Awards.

The Pink Flamingoes


Happy Monday.

So how was your weekend? Can it top the photo above? Two well-respected horror/crime authors, Paul Finch and Simon Bestwick, rocking it with pink flamingos. I think my stories just exploded and infected the world or I drank too much rum. Well, someone drank too much rum.

Edge-Lit 2016


Attended my second Edge-Lit convention this weekend (third if you count Sledge-Lit) and it was the best yet.We travelled up with the awesome Priya Sharma - it's the fourth convention that we've all attended together and it makes it more fun and a heck of a lot easier for little old shy me. As always, Priya won over everyone she met. It's a skill (it probably helps that she's naturally lovely). We arrived just in time to catch the first panel about horrors, thrillers and chillers, which had (if memory serves me right) Sarah Pinborough, Victoria Leslie, Johnny Mains and Marie O'Regan. I threw away the programme and my memory is atrocious. Then we attended the Boo Books and Exaggerated Press launch. Wine at eleven o'clock in the morning. That's new.We then escaped to the bar and sat with Jess Jordan and Ray Cluley, Lynda Rucker and Sean Hogan, Gary Couzens, we met the fabulous madness that is Johnny Mains, cue selfie........and briefly got rained on - by actual rain and not by Johnny. Then we caught the tail-end of Gary McMahon's launch and saw Alexandra Benedict there. In the afternoon I spent three hours back to back attending panels and then had to escape as my brain was fried. A shame as I just missed out on the crime panel. Not that I write crime but my little Bestwick does. Then it was hang around the bar again chatting to wonderful folk such as Sophie Essex, Phil Sloman, James Everington, a lovely new writer whose name I've forgotten and who looked so young I was reminded I am soooooooo old, Nina Allan and so many more folk but my pea-brain has forgotten.We had a meal in Ask Italian, which is across from the Quad, and then I spent the next forty-eight hours moaning to the Bestwick about how we should have gone to Nando's because I'm not a fan of pasta or pizza and only had garlic bread for tea and was fekking starving. A starving Cate is a dangerous beast to be around. We ended the day at the Quad by watching Alexandra Benedict interview Johnny Mains, and then we picked up the Dead Funny books, which must not go to seed on my TBR pile. A final catch up with Victoria Leslie, Tracy Fahey, James Everington and Nina Allan and then it was back home to the Wirral via roadworks and Crewe. I shall end this post with pretty people...Next up, FantasyCon in Scarborough. Candy Floss!!![...]

Things of the... Year


I seem to be a little woeful in keeping this blog up-to-date (not helped by the fact I spend most of my internet time on my phone these days). Yesterday, something wonderful happened. Two of my stories were nominated for British Fantasy Awards. The full list of nominees can be found over at the BFS site but I must mention those I am nominated with.

My novella The Bureau of Them (to be re-released by Snowbooks at FCon) is nominated alongside novellas by Mark Morris, Nnedi Okorafor, Usman T Malik and Paul Cornell. My short story When the Moon Man Knocks (published in Black Static) is nominated alongside stories by Priya Sharma, VH Leslie, Adam Nevill, Ralph Robert Moore & Frances Kay. I am overwhelmed to have stories nominated amongst such fantastic writers.

There was a tinge of sadness mingled with the joy though. I poured all the pain of mum's death into my story When the Moon Man Knocks and, of course, yesterday I so wished I could tell her about the nomination. She'd have been so happy.

Other news - since I've labelled this post Things of the Year - I've had two stories published this year.
The Coyote Corporation's Misplaced Song in The Hyde Hotel, and In the Macabre Theatre of Nightshade Place in the latest Postscripts anthology. Oh, and I finally married my awesome Bestwick.

The Bureau of Them


I am delighted to announce that my novella The Bureau of Them is to be published by Snowbooks later this year. Many thanks to Emma Barnes for all her hard work in bringing this about and for being generally awesome. Look out for more excitement announcements from other folk across the coming days. I won't reveal who from but there are some fantastic authors bringing out horror novellas through Snowbooks new series.

Isn't the cover beautiful? It fills my heart with dark things.

Hell's Ditch Book Launch


So last Friday, at Waterstone's in Liverpool One, this happened. Simon Bestwick (my Bestwick) achieved a dream and his book Hell's Ditch launched at a major UK bookstore.

Not only was the venue terrific (with a zillion thanks to Glyn Morgan who helped organise the event) but Simon was joined by Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams. There were readings and a lively question and answer session with the audience. Then afterwards a group of us headed off to a Chinese restaurant.

I am so proud of him. The book is a terrific read and it's dedicated to my little mum.

This time next year he'll be buying me a swimming pool*

*or paddling pool.

Important Announcement: The Bureau of Them


As many of you know, Spectral Press, who published my novella The Bureau of Them last July, are having financial difficulties.

Spectral Press is to become an imprint of Tickety Boo Press who will take over its management while allowing Simon Marshall Jones to continue as editor. Spectral's existing authors will be offered new contracts, for various reasons I've chosen not to go with the new imprint, so the rights to The Bureau of Them have reverted to me.

The book is in the process of being removed from Amazon. To date, I have received no royalties for the book. I have informed Gary Compton of Tickety Boo Press that I would be willing to accept The Bureau of Them paperbacks (up to the amount I'm owned) if any exist in stock. I apologise to anyone who has pre-ordered the hardback - which Spectral Press never got around to printing - and if I do get any paperback copies I will try to send them to those folk who have been let down by this situation.

Hyde Hotel


The Hyde Hotel, edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth, opened its doors yesterday and it contains my story The Coyote Corporation's Misplaced Song alongside stories by authors such as Simon Bestwick, Alison Littlewood, Ray Cluley, S P Miskowski, Mark West, V H Leslie and others.

Many thanks to James and Dan for inviting me to write for the anthology. You can find it on Amazon.

In other news, there is an interview with one of the contributors, Ray Cluley, over at The Haunted Omnibus.

A bit of Masochism for the New Year


Today I discovered I'm a masochist.

It's January and we are all poor (and by we I mean you are too). Of course, some of you might be doing just fine thank you very much, but as my blog readers are mainly writers I'm assuming you're poor too or at least vowing not to spend so much at Christmas again. I've vowed that several times since Boxing Day, but I won't stick to it. I never stick to it.

Anyhow, onto the masochism business. My Bestwick is always spouting advising that we should write a list before we go shopping and stick to a budget per day. Having worked out how much money I had left for January after buying and eating all of the things in December, I figured I had £8 a day to live on. My frown line furrowed so deep that our neighbour parked his car there.

Having built up a massive nest egg of £25, we headed to the supermarket. But I want to pretend I'm playing Supermarket Sweep, my subconscious cried. Then, because I have super powers, I pulled out my list and a pen to mark the price of everything and began to have fun. I appreciate that this makes me a very sad person. Supermarket saver brands were bought (of which there will possibly be forthcoming rants about or exclamations of 'it tastes just the same') and I was eventually unglued from the pricey Eve's Pudding, only to find we returned home with money in our pockets.

I am totally rocking this. Next month I think I'll try £5 a day.

This time next year we'll be millionaires.

Favourite Fiction 2015


As stated in my previous post, while my to read pile grew and grew, I failed to read even a quarter of what I should (especially with regards to short fiction).

I read fifteen novels this year. These were my favourites (in no particular order):

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
The Invasion by Willie Meikle
The Wolves of London by Mark Morris

I read three novellas and loved them all:

Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma
Leytonstone by Stephen Volk
The Night Just Got Darker by Gary McMahon

I read one collection and loved it:

Probably Monsters by Ray Cluley

I'm not certain how many short stories I read, but these were my favourites:

The Grey Men by Laura Mauro (Black Static)
Hungry Ghosts by Emily B Cataneo (Black Static)
Funeral Rites by Helen Marshall (Spectral Book of Horror)
Outside Heavenly by Rio Youers (Spectral Book of Horror)
The Life Inspector by John Llewellyn Probert (Spectral Book of Horror)
This Video Does not Exist by Nicholas Royle (Spectral Book of Horror)
The Cork won't Stay by Nate Southard (Nightmare)
To Sleep in the Dust of the Earth by Kristi DeMeester (Shimmer)

On a brighter note, I still have so many wonderful stories to read and to discover.

End of Year Review


Having allowed life to bite me during 2015 (and the previous year) I neither wrote very much nor read much. I think I'm coming out of the slump now, but I've thought that before. I should glue my fingers to the keyboard during 2016 although that could prove a challenge as my alphabet would be reduced to nine letters if I kept a thumb for the space bar.

Anyhow, here is what I had published in 2015:

The Drop of Light and the Rise of Dark in Black Static #45
When the Moon Man Knocks in Black Static #48
The Bureau of Them (a novella) by Spectral Press

And here is what is forthcoming (so far) in 2016:

*Secret Short Story in Secret Pro Anthology
A Silent Comedy in Coulrophobia (anthology) 
The Coyote Corporation's Misplaced Song in Hyde Hotel (anthology) 
In the Macabre Theatre of Nightshade Place in Postscripts 
Shadow Moths - an e-chapbook from Frightful Horrors

I also currently have two stories out in the wilds and one that I need to submit. The cupboard is a little bare, Deirdre. And, I'm working on my novel only I'm also not working on my novel--we're on a break.