It’s a gloomy, dark Saturday and we have another wonderful day of hair-raising horror to cheer you up. Today, I am delighted to have as my guest, author of dark fiction and zombie apocalypse horror, S P Oldham.
S P Oldham lives in the beautiful Sirhowy Valley in South Wales. She has always enjoyed writing and has recently ventured into self-publishing, Although she writes mainly horror and dark fiction, she likes to dabble in other genres from time to time. She is also an avid reader. S P Oldham currently has five horror fiction books available on Amazon. Three of these make up The Mindless Trilogy – The Zombie Apocalypse: Where a Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing. The other two books are short story collections. Hag’s Breath: A Collection Witchcraft and Wickedness, and Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales. Wakeful Children is also available in paperback.
S. K. Gregory writes horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and promoter for indie authors. She resides in Northern Ireland and has been writing since she was a child.
Most of the horror she writes features supernatural creatures such as demons. She recently released a collection of short stories called Chills and Thrills Tales which feature everything from werewolves to ghosts, to killer cannibal demons.
July 4th – The infection begins…
When a town is overrun by zombies, Rachel and her family are caught in the chaos. The virus spreads fast and Rachel is left to defend herself and her little cousin.
Gabe and Adam are two soldiers, tasked with finding the source of the infection and stopping it. But are they already too late?
Rachel joins the soldiers in a bid to survive, but with the army ready to drop a bomb on the town, they must figure out a way to escape before they are killed.
Can it stop the spread of the infection though?
Contains adult content.
A Small Town. An Ancient Evil…
For acting Sheriff, Kayla Thomas, most nights consist of breaking up bar fights and locking up drunks. That is until a local businessman decides to open up the old mine and gets more than he bargained for.
Something evil resides in Silverville and he just let it out…
When the businessman is found murdered, Kayla faces a viral like disease which turns ordinary people into murderers, tapping into their worst fears.
Who can she trust when anyone could be infected?
With the town snowed in, Kayla and her deputies must find the source of the virus before the roads are cleared. If this evil escapes into the world, no one is safe.
Can Kayla defeat the Trickster?
When Crystal crashes into Jax, she is worried that she will go to jail for drunk driving, but she has bigger things to worry about. Jax may seem like a normal teen, but he is hiding a secret. Injured in the crash, his wolf side is unleashed. Crystal is in danger, will she survive the night?
Today’s featured author is Lily Lamb, who also writes as A. Drew.
Lily is a Turkish-Australian multi-genre Indie author. She works as a nurse by day where she feeds her soul by caring for others. At night she tends to her imaginative alter-ego by writing tales involving love, passion, mystery, and horror.
Lily’s stories like “The Awakening” oozes hope and empathy for the future of humanity. Carefully crafted with raw realism surrounding family trauma and dynamics whilst incorporating the draw of supernatural events, giving rise to a unique horror. The story is sensitively sprinkled with elements of horror, tempered with the tenderness and longing of a youth’s search for his own identity. Like all great stories, there is a twist in it, concealed from the reader until the very end. An engaging read, touching upon social issues in a modern world.
The Dowling House (Dark Terror Series 1)
Since 1954, the Dowling House remained unoccupied until George and Melissa purchased it, hoping to renovate it for a profit. Their dream for a new lucrative business encounters a few challenges, but they can be easily overcome….or can they? Join George and Melissa on their amazing journey into the supernatural, but be warned, it is very engaging and you might not get out alive.
The Awakening: Prequel to Dowling House (Dark Terror Book 2)
A near-fatal incident stirs an awakening of an adolescent’s ability to connect with entities from the deep and dark hidden world, that which is beyond our natural awareness. A world of lost souls, both good and bad, all trying to reach out to the boy now that they are aware of his surreal capability. Coming to terms with his psychic ability that he neither asked for nor knew how to wield, he is unwittingly drawn into solving a grisly mystery from beyond the grave. This will become the greatest test of his faith in himself. Will he survive? #Supernatural #Thiriller #Horror
Born Into Chaos
Many centuries ago, he was born into a chaotic world and was shunned by Gods and Mortals. Shunned by the gods and the humans because of his lineage. He lived in isolation and filled with shame. As his resentment grew he no longer cared for anyone but lived by his own rules.
One night, a feeling of wonderment reached every cell of his being. He didn’t understand his elation, until he sensed the gentle beat which beckoned him…giving him the will to wake up from a deep sleep. He sensed it was his last chance at redemption. It would lead to a deceptive fight for his sanity and future. Living has never been more deadly and costly… or fulfilling.
Born Into Chaos is a dark fantasy story, sprinkled with horror.
WordyNerdBird’s note: I’ve read all of Lily’s books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Her story lines are original, her characters are relatable and realistic, and each of the books provides a great horror/dark read. They come highly recommended!
I’m very excited to be participating in the month long celebration of the creepy, macabre and spooky for the second time around.
Last year, I was featured on some blogs and websites as an author of horror, which is also going to happen this year.
In my first WiHM blog post last year, I gave a shout-out to two authors who were my first inspiration with all things Gothic and macabre: Emily Bronte and Mary Shelley.
This year, the shout-outs will be for excellent Indie horror authors who have great books to offer to the world. I plan to briefly introduce the featured authors to you tomorrow before moving on to spotlighting each of them individually in the coming weeks.
I will try to share everything to all my social media, but this blog will be the hub of that sharing, so stay tuned for some excellent dark things!
If horror isn’t your thing and you prefer poetry, just hold on tight and wait until April, when National Poetry Month swings into action. I will be doing some regular posts throughout the month too, so I’m confident there will be something for everyone even though the focus will indeed be on the ladies of dark literature.
If you’d like to read some of my previous Women in Horror posts from 2018, simply click on these links:
Yesterday I wrote something other than a blog post for the first time in a couple of weeks. After being ill, having surgery, and then finding myself entirely without focus, it felt so good to have the words flowing again. I knew it would happen; I just had to wait for my muse.
As it turns out, my muse has a very dark sense of humour. As I commented to my best friend this evening, “It’s a bit sad that a horror story can be so highly autobiographical.”
The story is one I started at some point during my illness, most likely when I had started to come back to life after failing to die at the hands of whatever disease it was that I had, although I don’t remember writing it then.
I’m not going to give any spoilers, but I will say that I love the opening line, and while I am confident that this gruesome little story does reflect my own experiences of the past three weeks, it also holds some twists that even surprised me as I was writing it.
After some sleep and a bit of thoughtful editing today, I have made ‘Contaminus’ available to read for free on WordyNerdBird Writes.
A year ago, my character Friday didn’t exist. He didn’t appear in my imagination until Friday 13th of October, when I wrote a spooky piece of flash fiction featuring a black cat. At that time, I didn’t expect it would be any more than that.
Friday had other ideas. He showed up again the next day, and the next, and the day after that, too. By Halloween, I had written thirteen macabre stories featuring Friday, a magical black cat with a penchant for poetic justice.
“A lovely collection of tales, overseen by a
cat who defends his person with almighty
power. A little gory, and a lot killy. ;-)”
Playing with common superstitions, the old proverb “curiosity killed the cat” and the strange events that happen in the stories, I titled the book of these collected stories ‘Curious Things’.
Of course, it’s not the magical cat who ends up in trouble. It’s the people who allow their curiosity, dishonesty or greed to get them into bad situations who find themselves on the wrong end of Friday’s magic.
Friday was, quite naturally, rather pleased. He purred his way onto bookshelves, rubbed against the ankles of those browsing the YA, paranormal and horror bookshelves, and wrapped his sleek black tail around readers’ hearts.
“This cat is like Karma on four legs.”
He enjoyed the attention and adulation of his fans so much, he began to demand I write some more stories for him. Being a cat, he’s most accustomed to getting what he wants. And so, Friday’s next book, titled ‘Curious Times’ is due to be released in early October, right on time for Halloween reading!
I’m very excited to reveal the cover of ‘Curious Times’ right here, for the first time!
‘Curious Times’ will be available in all major and some minor digital stores, and widely available as a paperback.
Stay tuned on social media and this blog for an announcement of the book’s release!
One of the things I find hardest to deal with in life is the perception that sometimes, evil seems to win.
I don’t know why it should surprise me each time it happens, but it still does. I don’t know why people’s cruelty and evil actions still shocks me, but it does.
Let me explain where this train of thought originated.
Not long ago, I witnessed the complete and irreversible downfall of someone I’ve known for some time. I haven’t always necessarily liked that person – less, in fact, as time went on, although that’s not really relevant to this post. I honestly thought that their behaviour couldn’t get any lower than what I had already witnessed, and what I already knew of him. I was wrong.
Please understand that in writing this post, I do not for one moment mean to suggest that I feel sorry for him. I don’t.
I do feel incredibly sorry for those whose trust he, and every other person like him, has broken and abused. My heart breaks for those who find themselves and the rest of their lives shattered among the trail of destruction they leave behind. These things leave permanent scars from which some people never recover.
And there is no denying that I am incredibly angry. How dare he? He can’t say he didn’t know it was wrong. He can’t say he didn’t know what he was thinking. He knew, and he went ahead and did it anyway.
So, as his life unravelled before my eyes, I was left feeling the same about him as I do about everyone who betrays the trust of the people they should be protecting.
Whether it’s broken friendship, corruption, or an absolute degradation of one person by another, I believe that there are powers in this world that celebrate when someone who has always taken a strongly moral stand falls from a position of leadership and finds themselves in a downward spiral of shame and humiliation, especially if it’s a person of faith.
It was this chain of thought that led me to write ‘The Demons Dance’. It is grim imagery of demons dancing and celebrating around the crumpled form of their latest victim, upon whos miery and death they are completely drunk.
In this poem, as in a number of my others, my love of writing horror and the macabre has combined with my penchant for poetry to produce what I believe is poetry that is both grotesque and beautiful at the same time.
One of the principles of writing good horror is tapping into your readers’ fears and anxieties, albeit in a controlled manner – I don’t want to trigger a heart attack or a psychosis, but I do want their skin to crawl and their innards to lurch. After all, that’s why they pick up a horror book or film in the first place.
It’s interesting – at least to me, at any rate – that I haven’t got any better at confronting my own fears.
I have always been, and still am, terrified of spiders and snakes. Of course, I do live in Australia where just about everything that crawls or slithers is deadly, so that is quite sensible. We’ll call it a healthy sense of self-preservation. Butterflies and moths, though… not so much. And crickets: ugh! Not exactly the stuff of nightmares— until they touch me. That’s when I lose all sense of reality.
When I was a child, I considered that I had a fear of heights. As I grew older, I realised that what I actually have is a fear of falling. I can look out of the window of a plane that is flying at altitude, and it doesn’t bother me a bit. Ask me to step onto the balcony of a lookout at the top of a mountain, or to walk on stairs or a surface where I can see through to underneath, and you will only ever be disappointed. It’s not going to happen. The times I have been in such places, I have frozen to the ground in fear.
Interestingly, these are not fears that I have explored in my own writing— not yet, anyway. I’m far more comfortable playing on someone else’s weaknesses. Death. Hell. Demons. Fire. Hair. Monsters. Ghosts. Superstition. Possession. Unexplained coincidences. Easy peasy!
Maybe I will try to address one of my own fears in my writing this month, given that it is Women in Horror Month, and I happen to be a woman who very much enjoys writing horror.
One of the most powerful features of excellent Gothic, horror or macabre writing is the ability of an author to affect the reader on an intellectual and emotional level, even more than they do physically.
This is something that I aspire to in my own writing. I always try to engage the mind and the emotions, not just the reflexes that make one gag or feel their skin crawling, although those are certainly effects that I enjoy stimulating in a reader. I don’t write splatter for splatter’s sake – there has to be a deeper meaning and a greater purpose to it than that if I really want to connect with and move my reader on a psychological level. There needs to be a story, not just a scene, and the reader needs to be able to connect with that story in order for it to have full effect on them.
I sought to do this in ‘The Silver Feather’ by developing strong emotions in my main character’s responses to things that happened around him and to him – grief, shock, dread, surprise, horror, and fear. Phil is an ordinary guy with talents, strengths and flaws that make his situation one in which any of us could find ourselves. Not everything is explained in full, because as an author, you want the reader to be wondering what’s going on, and holding their breath as they anticipate what’s coming next. Things become clearer as the story progresses, but sufficient questions remain at the end because you want the reader to remain interested enough to read the sequel.
‘Curious Things’ is a little different in that it consists of thirteen stories, all featuring a black cat named Friday and his interaction with people who are all doing the wrong thing in one way or another. It’s not enough to blow them up or have them arrested – I want to make them face consequences, to be confronted by their conscience, and to pay the price for their less-than-savoury ways. Each story develops from some kind of superstition – do black cats bring bad luck? What would happen if the ground really did open up and swallow someone? Again, some questions about Friday remain unanswered, although it is evident that he’s not exactly your ordinary house cat. The reader doesn’t need to know everything to understand that Friday is actively involved in the strange events that occur, one way or another.
I do have plans for more horror stories this year. Friday will emerge from time to time, as he did on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, when new stories were published on WordyNerdBird Writes. There may, or may not, be a sequel to The Silver Feather – the truth is that I haven’t decided on this just yet. There will be another collection of horror stories, two of which have already been written and edited, and another is well under way. I’m not setting myself a due date for any of these projects – they will happen when they happen, and I will work steadily toward them.
My goal in all of this is to give my readers a reading experience that is original, well-written and provocative enough to give them the chills and shudders that they seek when they pick up a horror story. I want them to hold their breath, and gasp, and recoil when they read my work. And I want them to come back for more, because that is the greatest compliment and honour that an author can receive from a reader.
So here’s to all the women writing horror, and to all the readers who love what they write. Here’s to all the authors whose horror works I love reading, and to celebrating them and their books during a delightfully creepy Women in Horror Month.