Tag Archives: Books

The Darker Side of Fiction Takeover!

Guess what? Jo Curtis and Rachel Brightley are doing a takeover on my Facebook page (Jacky Dahlhaus – Author) on Monday evening, the 11th of June!

Come and join us for some fun and learn more about this awesome book signing which will be held on Saturday the 6th of October in Peterborough.

There’ll be fun and games, and I will be giving away a FREE all-day ticket to the event. It’s also an opportunity to ask me anything about my writing.

I hope to see you on Monday evening, 8:30pm at my Facebook Page! 😀

Meet The Author… Jay Raven

Birmingham-based Jay Raven has written multiple horror/fantasy short stories which were published in many anthologies. He is an author with multiple books under his name, not all of them in the horror genre. Jay has been in the writing world for a while, as a journalist at first but now as a full-time novel writer. Let’s get to know Jay a bit better.

Jay Raven

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Tell us a little about yourself…

I have passion for all things horror, especially vampires. As a teenager I’d skip school to sneak into the cinema to watch Peter Cushing staking Christopher Lee.

I’ve been a full-time fiction writer for 25 years, widely published on both sides of the Atlantic, but it was only a few years ago that I began to focus on my dark fantasy output. Most of my stories are set in the past – I jokily label it “harpsichord horror”.

In my free time I do a lot of baking, although I’m not sure the description free time is strictly accurate as that’s when I dream up my best plots.

What is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you?

Just before Christmas I was signed up by Junction Publishing to write two Gothic horror/dark fantasy novels. It’s since become a three-book deal.

What is your favorite childhood book, and why?

Alice in Wonderland. Even as a child I loved its creepy, menacing atmosphere, laced with barely controlled mayhem.

How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

I grew up in Glasgow which had more than its fair share of Victorian grave robbers in its past. The cemetery near us had a small building where relatives would stand guard through the night to protect their newly buried loved ones. Learning about that made a huge impact on me.

Jay_Raven_StorybookWhat was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

While still at school I used to write local history pieces for my local newspaper. One was a three-part reconstruction of a notorious murder of a foreman by gangers building the railway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. My articles documented the manhunt to bring the killers to justice and the resulting public executions.

Just after part two appeared I was taking a shortcut home from my girlfriend’s house and I bumped into the school bully in the dark. I thought he was going to beat me up, but instead he was all excited and in awe, demanding to know what happened to the killers in the final installment.

Who is your favorite author? How much is your work influenced by his or her works?

Michael Crichton, author of best-sellers Jurassic Park and WestWorld amongst others. His writing is so tight, pacy and cleverly structured that it leaves you breathless. There isn’t a wasted word, character or scene. He is a master storyteller. I try to make my writing just as fast-paced and lean.

Music or silence?

I write with earphones on, music pumping. It blocks all external distractions and helps inspire me. You could say that my stories are created with their own soundtracks.   

Do you outline or just write?

Before I begin a book I spend two weeks creating a highly detailed blueprint – every chapter, scene, major hook, key pieces of dialogue all go into it and I end up with a 30-page mini version of the novel, which I just need to flesh out.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I’d bake artisan cakes in the shape of coffins and sell them at Dracula events in Whitby.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym, and if yes, why?

Jay_Raven_MiddleofNowhereI already do. Jay Raven is the name I use for my dark fantasy work. I write humour under my real name. I try to keep both sides completely separate. As Ghostbusters advises: “Top safety tip. Don’t cross the streams!”

What is your writing style?

I concentrate on making the work as visual as possible. I want readers to forget they’re reading and imagine themselves watching a movie. I inhabit the boundary between horror and fantasy. My work relies more on suspense than gore.

Do you try to be original in your storytelling or to deliver to readers what they want?

I try to do both – I obey the rules of the genre but mix in loads of new elements to keep things fresh. In Blood Riders, for instance, my vampires have demon horses and can communicate with each telepathically.

Do you have any difficulty writing characters of the opposite sex?

No, I started out writing short stories for women’s magazines. That’s something many people would be surprised about.

Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one do you feel you relate to the most?

Anton Yoska, the marshal caught up in the jailhouse siege, is an idealised version of me. But where he is brooding, I am just moody. He is noble and high minded, I come across simply as pompous.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Jay_Raven_ToSnareAWitchWitch Hunt – a series of whodunits set in an alternative history (1930s) where a Russian empire warlock is a homicide detective investigating murders that involve supernatural elements.

What writing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

Write the kind of books you would want to read, don’t slavishly try to recreate what is currently hot!

How do author friends help you become a better writer?

I kick about ideas with my fellow writers. They see things from a different angle, and are brutally honest  – which is exactly what you need.

What has been the best compliment?

A magazine editor who paid handsomely for my first short story said – “Love this – do you have any more?”

What do your fans mean to you?

Everything. Their support makes it all worthwhile.

Can you give us a bit more about your latest book, Crimson Siege (Blood Riders – Book 1) as it is launched today, the 22nd of May 2018?

 

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When ruthless bounty hunters target one of 19th century Europe’s most feared vampire clans, the last place any lawman wants to be is caught in the middle…


But for Anton Yoska, Lord Marshal of the Imperial lands south of the Carpathian Mountains, fate has trapped him in a supernatural stand-off that can end only in terror, pain and destruction.
A gang of mercenaries led by Anton’s former army comrade Milosh Drubrick have captured vampire aristocrat Stefan Modjeski, wanted for a string of bloody ritualistic murders, and have come to Anton to claim the reward and seek shelter and protection. And as Stefan’s predatory undead kin lay siege to the jailhouse, Anton is faced with an agonising choice – hand over his prisoner and abandon the treacherous hunters to their unspeakable fate, or stand and fight.


What’s more, the vampires have made him an enticing offer if he co-operates – they’ll save his dying wife by turning her into one of their kind. He can join her, and the devoted couple will live forever.
The jailhouse defenders are outnumbered and out of options. It’s a battle that can’t be won, certain slaughter for them all, and Anton can’t trust his scheming allies. But Lord Marshal Yoska isn’t about to surrender.


For he’s an experienced vampire hunter, a dangerous man when cornered, and a single minded warrior who knows there are worse things to fear than death…

Why it is a must-read?

It’s pacy, visceral and packed with twists and turns.

Here’s the trailer for Crimson Siege:

Thank you so much, Jay, for letting us get to know you a little bit better. Besides reading your books, I’d love to try one of your cakes one day!

Jay Raven‘s books and anthologies containing his stories can all be found on Amazon. Why not get your copy of Crimson Siege now!

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You can follow Jay Raven via the following social media:

Email: jay@jayraven.com

Website: www.jayraven.com

Twitter: @JayRavenAuthor

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYpfhXi_m6ePYfeHG_MPO7A

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153810.Jay_Raven

And the Winner is…

You may remember that I posted a St. Patrick’s Day Rafflecopter Giveaway in March.

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Well, they have announced the winners this weekend!

Winner of my book Living Like A Vampire is Jaclyn Mercer, from Canada.

Winner of the Good Luck Charm key ring is Sharon Extine, from the US.

Sharon, I have tried to send you an email, but it keeps bouncing. Please contact me on jackydahlhaus@gmail.com via an email address that accepts mine, so I can send you your prize!

Congratulations, Ladies!

Don’t forget there is a new Spring into Reading Rafflecopter running with fantastic prizes again:

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PS: Please note that when you enter the Rafflecopter, you will be subscribed to all these wonderful authors’ newsletters, offering promos and freebies!

Meet The Author… Vanessa Ravel

Vanessa Ravel is an author I met on the Dark Fantasy Books website. She is a far cry from the standard girl next door and I expect her book, Four o’Clock Alice, isn’t any different.

Vanessa Ravel

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You are an epidemiologist by trade. Do you still work as a scientist or are you now a full-time writer? Does your work feature in some way in your book?

I still do consulting and medical writing on a freelance basis, which allows me to devote time to my real passion of writing fiction. Funny enough, after all my schooling, epidemiology doesn’t at all figure into Four O’Clock Alice, but I do have some ideas stewing on the back burner where I might be able to use my public health background. 

Why do you write dark fantasy?

Horror is my favorite genre, but I’m not really a fan of gore or graphic violence. I like writing about ugly things in the most beautiful way possible, so I think dark fantasy allows for that outlet over horror. To me, writing delicate prose about vile things is more shocking than any gorefest because, strangely enough, there is beauty in vile things. There is beauty in everything. You just need to find the right words.

Four o’Clock Alice is your debut novel. Did you intentionally write a novel or does its creation have a different story?

I did set out to write Four O’Clock Alice, although the original idea doesn’t at all resemble the finished product! The impetus for writing was a series of personal tragedies which afforded me the perspective to ‘write what I know,’ not in a sense of ever having been in any of the characters’ situations per se, but nonetheless being newly able to empathize with those situations.

How old is Alice and what is the target audience for your novel?

Although the book starts with a ten-year-old Alice and follows her until she is 17, I would not say this is necessarily a book for that age range. I believe the target audience for my novel is adult, although the older ‘young adult’ market (say, 14+) would sympathize with Alice’s coming-of-age situation.

 

Four_OClock_AliceCan you give us a quirky detail about Alice that doesn’t feature explicitly in your book?

Her second toe is longer than all the others. But don’t tell anyone; she gets enough hassle for having the touch of death.

What can people expect when they read your book?

You’re in for a surreal trip down the rabbit hole! Four O’Clock Alice examines the human condition from a unique perspective, and the book takes a surprising twist. There are certainly aspects of horror as the antagonists run the gamut from Lovecraftian creatures to evil overlords to flesh and blood humans (in my opinion, the scariest type of monster).

You have a lot of dogs. Please tell us more about them. Do they feature in your book?

I currently have four small dogs: Anaïs the dachshund (11, she may be short, but you’re still beneath her); Zoë the mutt (9, says she’s Chihuahua-beagle-dachshund, but she won’t show us her papers), Dolce the Chihuahua (7, she’s only comfortable if she’s sitting on another dog’s head); and Penny the schnauzer (6, if there’s a worm on the ground, she’ll roll on it). While my dogs don’t personally appear in my book, their humanity—particularly that of my beloved Dudley who passed in 2014—is largely what inspired me to write about what makes us human.

Are you working on another book? If yes, what’s it about, and could you give us a little ‘preview’?

My upcoming release will be a short story collection called Demon Dance: 10 dark stories to rattle your psyche. This book will be a big divergence from Four o’Clock Alice in genre and in tone, and can be classified as more horror/speculative fiction than dark fantasy. The 10 standalone stories examine the boundaries between personal demons and the ones that come from Hell. Here’s a preview from The Wild Hunt:

The rumbling intensified. Thunder? No—hooves. Dozens of them. Moving fast. Shaking the room. Then an additional sound rode in on the heels of that stampede. Howls and yips punctuated by agitated pants echoed through the night. As the racket came to a crescendo of howls, whinnies, and neighs, the glass French doors to the terrace exploded, and Marcus dove behind the couch. The late December air blew a rare handful of snow flurries onto the brand new pine floors. A dark form eclipsed the streetlight pouring in through the broken French doors. Horses chuffed. A hideous stench mushroomed into the lounge, provoking Marcus’s gag reflex. He peeked over the couch at Vesta. “What is that?”

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for letting us know a bit more about Four o’Clock Alice and your dogs. Please give a cuddle to all four of them from me 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your book one day.

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Four o’Clock Alice is available on Amazon.

Springtime Rafflecopter Giveaway!

My book is again available in a Rafflecopter giveaway! Check out the awesome 42 books and prizes you can win! This time there is a $120 cash prize too 🙂Spring_Into_Reading_Rafflecopter.jpg

PS: Please note that entering with entering the rafflecopter you will be signed up to these authors’ awesome newsletters. You can accept their freebies or unsubscribe at any time.

Mistral Dawn Blog Feature

Hey everybody,

I just wanted to share with you that Mistral Dawn interviewed me and it’s up on her website! You can find it here. You may find out something about me you didn’t know yet 😊.

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Thanks for the opportunity, Mistral! 😘

St. Patrick’s Day Rafflecopter!

Last change, people! $100 cash prize, and 33 books & gifts (many of which are Amazon gift cards)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Author… Mark Fowler

I know Mark Fowler from the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook site. We’ve been acquainted for two years now. Mark has been so lucky as to have his books published by Bloodhound Books and is doing pretty well, promoting his fourth book, Red Is The Colour, at the moment. I had the pleasure to chat with him yesterday evening through an author chat organized by Caroline Maston.

Mark L. Fowler

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What made you become a writer?

Possibly because I wasn’t any good at most other things in life! I love telling stories, making things up, indulging my imagination but in a way that communicates a truth to my readers. When I feel I have something to say, I write fiction, and I try to get to the heart of things the best way I can. 

Tell us a little about your work.

So far, I have published four novels: Coffin Maker (which took nearly twenty years to write!), The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour. My books are all very different, and Coffin Maker, for example, does not clearly fit into any single genre, though it contains strong elements of gothic fiction and very dark humour. Red Is The Colour, on the other hand, is clearly a detective mystery thriller. The Man Upstairs is also a detective mystery, but with a twist of the very strange. While Silver can be read as a psychological thriller or as a gothic thriller. It is also very satirical regarding the publishing trade. 

Why do you write crime?

Crime is only part of it for me. There is crime at the heart of my books, though I would like to think that I’m also trying to explore what makes people tick, why people behave in certain ways in certain situations. I love the psychology of human behaviour. And the darkest crimes-murder for example-raise so many questions. We want to know what forms the heart of a monster or why an ordinary man or woman could carry out the most seemingly depraved acts on another human being. I also enjoy reading crime, of course, and many of my favourite authors write in the crime genres. 

What sparked your interest in the supernatural/gothic horror?

I’ve loved horror since the seventies when I used to stay up late Fridays to watch Hammer House of Horror. having said that, there are very few horror novels/films that I really love, whereas there are countless crime and mystery books and films. For me, many of the finest horror writers go beyond genre and are not constrained by it, for example, Ray Bradbury.

What do you find the easiest and hardest parts of writing a book?

For me, it’s starting a book that is the hardest part. Going off in the right direction, beginning at the right place. Once I get the opening right and the momentum starts to develop, I’m okay. I’m learning to plot a little before I set off as I always fear I may run up a dead end. Easier on the nerves having a basic plan, though to over plot from the beginning would kill the book off for me before it got started.

How much research goes into your novels?

I confess to not really being much of a researcher. Coffin Maker and The Man Upstairs were perfect for me, as I could make absolutely everything up. With Red Is The Colour, I gave myself a break by using a local setting, an area that I know extremely well and could write about confidently. However, there was the matter of police procedure, of course. I don’t particularly enjoy reading dense procedurals, and so I steered clear of getting too bogged down, but I did ask a police officer I know to help me with some of the details and to ensure that I wasn’t making any glaring errors. She was very helpful. 

What do you do in between writing books?

Read books! And listen to music and watch films, mainly.

What have you got lined up for us?

I have a follow up to Red Is The Colour written and two psychological thrillers also completed, not to mention three YA books that I would dearly love to find a suitable publisher for. I can’t stop writing them! I’m taking some time though to consider my options before moving forward with my next publication and will keep you posted.

I wish Mark success in the promotion of Red Is The Colour. Mark’s book Silver is on sale for £0.99 at the moment, so why not grab that one as well while it’s hot!

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Mark L. Fowler’s books can be found on Amazon and Bloodhound Books.

 

Killing A Vampire is ON SALE!

For three days only, Killing A Vampire is for sale on Amazon for $0.99! Grab your copy before the price goes up!

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I’m an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Author Session Host!

Today, I received an email from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) team, asking me if I would like to host a session as an author on their site. I am so thrilled! I had never heard of them, but they are on Twitter. Any opportunity to get more exposure is good, of course, especially with my new release on sale this weekend!

Part of the process is that I have to authenticate that I am me, so I took this selfie. What do you think? Is this me?

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Why not ask me a question? You can find the session here, ask your questions now, and will answer them on Monday, 12 March, at 11:30am EST. All questions/answered are typed, so no video live feed, but I promise to behave anyway 🙂