Black Feathers and The Book of the Crowman: Reunited


I’m somewhat overwhelmed.

It’s four and a half years since I wrote the opening lines of a novel titled Black Feathers: The Book of the Crowman.

These were the lines:

“When the final days came, it was said that Satan walked the Earth in the guise of a crow. Those who feared him called him Scarecrow or sometimes Black Jack. I know him as the Crowman.”

Seven months later, the first draft was complete but it took almost three years to find a home for the novel – with the wonderful Angry Robot Books. Unfortunately, it was too long to publish in one book so there followed much labour, breaking what was essentially one story into two parts.

Now, however, there’s no need for the story to be split any longer. My copies arrived this morning and they look beautiful together.

With the circle complete, it’s time for me to write a new book…

*gets down to business*

Women in Horror 2014

Last year, following the Halloween Top 10 I wrote for The Guardian online, I realised I was incredibly ignorant of horror by women. In an attempt to change that, I have only read horror by female authors since.

So far, I have enjoyed the following books:

The Bloody Chamber and other stories by Angela Carter
Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite (I’ve since discovered that the author has reassigned his gender as male, so not sure this counts as horror by a woman. I suspect, however, that he may still have been female at the time of writing in the mid-nineties.)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
Chalk by Pat Cadigan
A Nest of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle
Skeleton Leaves by Helen Marshall
Path of Needles by Alison Littlewood

It’s been great and I have several more women authors on my hit list, including:

Syd Moore, Muriel Gray, Anne Rice, Alice Hoffman, Michelle Paver, Gemma Files, Sarah Waters, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Joyce Carol Oates and Kaaron Warren.

All suggestions welcome!

NetGalley ARC of ‘The Book of the Crowman’ goes live


Well, today is the day when the final part of the Black Dawn Series becomes ‘visible’.

I almost can’t believe it. The result of four years’ work is now in the public domain, albeit to reviewers only at this point.

Still, it feels like a special moment so I might have a little celebration tonight…

But, until I start to see their responses, all I can do is hope that the critics will be delighted by what they find at NetGalley

Black Feathers and The Book of The Crowman – a teaser

Black Feathers


When the final days came, it was said that Satan walked the Earth in the guise of a crow. Those who feared him called him Scarecrow or sometimes Black Jack. I know him as the Crowman.

I speak for him.

Across the face of the Earth, in every nation, great suffering arose Continue reading

Tastes & Tales: Fabulous Food and Fantastic Fiction

Delish event poster.jpg large

My favourite deli and cafe ‘Delish’ is organising a rather unusual evening of entertainment.

Three writers of dark fiction will read some of their latest and creepiest work.

Between each performance the audience will be treated to freshly prepared ‘themed’ canapes from the Delish kitchen as well as fine English wines and local craft beers.

The authors will be available to chat, sign books and answer questions and will have a few titles for sale, just in case your appetite isn’t totally satisfied.

And I know from personal experience – I eat in Delish at least once a week – that the food will be scrumptious!

Join me, Sam Hayes, Rod Duncan and Delish’s culinary guiding light, Claire Hopkins, for an evening that will activate your pleasure centres and leave you hungry for more!

Skeleton Leaves by Helen Marshall

Skeleton Leaves: A CollectionSkeleton Leaves: A Collection by Helen Marshall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was extremely fortunate to receive a copy of this – one of only 150 printed – from Chris Roberts, the talented artist who illustrated it. It was signed both by him and the author, and that on its own makes it a unique and special book.

Marshall has an exquisite instinct for communicating imagery and uses it to convey one lingering impression after another. This is a very readable and affecting collection – and it stays with you, the surest sign of fine work.

The only shame is that I haven’t read J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, the novel from which this tribe of poems takes much of its inspiration. And yet, despite that deficiency on my part, I think I picked up on a lot of the emotions the collection exposes.

Reading Skeleton Leaves prompted me to rethink what good poetry is: the sharing of secrets we already know.

Get yourself a copy before they’re all gone.

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