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Andrew's horror novella, 'The Bathtub', is now available.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

PREVIEW: "Hot Chocolate Kiss" by Gianna Bruno

On Thursday, January 7, Gianna Bruno’s short story "Hot Chocolate Kiss" will be released by Eternal Press.

Extreme weather, three witches, two skiers fighting their own demons--and each other…who wins?

Keela Branford’s passion for extreme winter sports, fueled by anger at a cheating soon to be ex-husband, drives her to brave sub-zero wind chills and break a lot of rules--including the one to never ski alone. There are just some battles that have to be fought despite the risks.

Keela doesn't think much of Rick Marston, a ski lift attendant who is brazen enough to question Keela's judgment. And she thinks even less of his invitation for a drink when she comes down from the summit. She's sworn off controlling jocks like her ex, and is determined to exorcise the demon of self-doubt inside her. Will Keela win the battle against The Witches waiting for her on the ski slopes? And will the heat between Keela and the man who gets in the middle rout them for good?

Gianna certainly knows her stuff when it comes to both plotting a story and telling it, and she uses her skills to good effect in this debut novelette. Gianna knows the New England skiing scene well, and her skiing experiences provide a confident background to the piece.

Readers will immediately indentify with Keela, who is a skilful mix of vulnerability and willpower. I shared in Keela’s determination to beat the elements as she battled the witches; I willed her to make the right decision when deliberating over Rick’s interest. In short, I couldn’t help wanting Keela to succeed.

Most of all, though, I sat back and enjoyed the narrative. 'Hot Chocolate Kiss' pulls you along almost like the moods of a river - sometimes fast and furious, at other times more gentle, but always taking you with its flow.

The story is both erotic and romantic, and I finished it wanting to read more about Rick and Keela. I know Gianna has hinted that 'Hot Chocolate Kiss' might be the first of a series, and I for one am looking forward to meeting the characters again.

Hot Chocolate Kiss’s web site at Eternal Press is here:

Readers can connect with Gianna at:

Subscribe to Gianna's webpage forums for Rick and Keela’s upcoming character blogs:

In addition to hanging around on the Eternal Press Readers Group every day to answer readers' questions, Gianna will be the guest at a live chat on the Eternal Press website on January 7. Please drop in for a trivia contest about New England and skiing, and a chance to win a PDF of Hot Chocolate Kiss. She’ll announce the time on Twitter and her blog.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"The Shoot's" First Review!

"The Shoot" has been given an emphatic 17 by "Seriously Reviwewed"! They gave the story eight and the presentation nine to arrive at that score.

Read the full review here.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Release Day Quiz!

To celebrate "The Shoot's" release, I'll give away a couple of free copies! All you have to do is leave a message, telling me which other Eternal Press release "The Shoot" is a prequel to.

As a strong hint, the answer is in my previous post, below.

Release Day!

The Shoot’s” release is here!

It forms a prequel to other Eternal Press release, “The Wood”. The books have two common characters: Kath Mahoney, a young and gifted archaeologist, and Pippa Laws, her best friend. “The Shoot” is erotica, while “The Wood” is mainstream horror.

Preview (Thanks to fellow EP author Gianna Bruno)
Interview (Thanks to Carole Ann Moleti)

I’ll be online at EP from 9-10pm EST.

Here’s an excerpt from “The Shoot”:

“And how about you?” Robyn asked.

Kath’s brows rose. “Me?”

“Well, it’s just as easy to take pictures of two as it is of one. And if she’s with someone she knows, it might ensure that your friend—Philippa, isn’t it?—is totally relaxed.”

“I haven’t got anything to wear.” Kath pointed to her casual clothes. “It’s hardly modelling material.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ve got a wardrobe through there. You can choose whatever you like.” Robyn nodded toward the door Pippa had disappeared through. “Have you ever been photographed before?”

“Not since I was a kid. Mum hired someone every year so she’d have a picture of me and my sister to send to relatives at Christmas.”

Robyn regarded her. “You’re a gorgeous girl, Kath. I’m pretty sure you’d be really photogenic. I’d really encourage you to give it a go.”

Kath’s cheeks warmed. “I want to be an archaeologist, not a model,” she said. She pushed her hair behind an ear in an embarrassed gesture, but agreed to pose. She followed Pippa into the changing room.

She told me I was gorgeous. A smile curled Kath’s lips.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Release Day Approaches!

The Shoot” will be released by Eternal Press in less than a week – Monday 7th December! Be sure to come back on the 7th, when I’ll have some celebratory prizes to give away.

I’ll be doing a live chat on the Eternal Press website between 9-10pm EST on Monday, and I hope to see loads of people there. There’s also Eternal Press’s monthly launch party at their Reader’s Yahoo Group. These are always fun events. And Eternal Press also have a secret surprise in store. It’s so secret that even I don’t know what it is! Sign up for EP’s eZine to find out.

Thank you to Carole Ann Moleti who has interviewed me to celebrate the release. Fellow EP author Gianna Bruno, for a preview. Gianna’s “Hot Chocolate Kiss” will be released by EP early in 2010. I want to give Gianna a public thank you for her help with “The Shoot’s” early drafts – I doubt it would have got published without your help.

Finally, check out “The Shoot’s” video trailer on my YouTube channel. There are trailers for my other books there, too.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

"The Shoot" - Coming Soon!

The Shoot has now been put up on Eternal Press's Coming Soon Page, along with all their other December releases!

The Decemebr releases are here:

Click on "The Shoot's" cover for the blurb and an excerpt.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

'The Shoot' - Launch Date Confirmed

I’ve had confirmation from Eternal Press that ‘The Shoot’ will be launched on 7th December.

Eternal Press always have a virtual party on launch day – why not join us all at EP’s reader’s Yahoo Group?

And finally, a plug to remind everyone that ‘The Shoot’ is a prequel to my other EP release, ‘The Wood’.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Guest Blogging and a Wood Review

Thank you to fellow horror writer Carole Johnstone (author of ‘Frenzy’) for asking me over to her blog to talk about the mythological aspects of ‘The Wood’. Carole has also written a review of the book, which I’m pretty chuffed with.

Please come and join us at:

Thank you Carole!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

"It's a Cracker!"

"Like it says on the box of fireworks: light the blue touch paper, stand back and enjoy this sparkling narrative. Its a cracker!"

Thanks to Phil McCormac (author, Black Horse Westerns) for these early thoughts on "The Shoot."

Friday, 11 September 2009

'The Shoot' and Other Updates

I’ve got ‘The Shoot’ back from my editor now, asking me to look at some of the proposed changes. I’m expecting it to keep me quiet over the weekend! I’ve not had any new news on a release date, so December 7th is still looking likely. It’s only 11,000 words, so at least the editing should be a breeze compared to ‘Andraste’s Blade’ and ‘The Wood’!

I’ve still got a couple of other ongoing projects that are at the redrafting stage, so it’s going to be a while before I get to sit at a keyboard and produce anything new.

‘The Well’, a story about a young woman who wakes in a dried-up well, needs another proofing. For reasons I won’t bore you with it’s had to be set in the American Mid-West, and early feedback from Critters is that the story is okay, but I need to work on getting the American accents right.

‘The Doe and the Dragon’ (or DD) also needs another rewrite, mainly getting the characters just right, and I think the writing quality needs to be beefed up in places. This one is more fantasy than horror, which I think makes it harder to keep the reader reading – so it needs to be particularly good. DD is a historical one set in North Wales a generation or so before Arthur (hence I affectionately call it, ‘King Arthur’s Parents’). Again, early feedback is that the plot works, although the characters need to be stronger.

I suppose I should get these out of the way before carrying on with any new writing. That might take until mid-October.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Gianna Bruno

Congratulations to Gianna Bruno, whose ‘Hot Chocolate Kiss’ has been accepted by Eternal Press! I hope Gianna will guest blog at some stage to tell us all about it.

Find out more at:

I really struggle with love scenes, and I must acknowledge Gianna’s help in getting ‘The Shoot’ into a submittable condition before I submitted it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Final Frontier

Guest Blogger: Carole Johnstone

First of all I'd like to say a big thank you to Andrew for inviting me to guest on his blog today, and for giving my novella Frenzy such a glowing review on Sunday's post!

When I was thinking about what to write today I was reminded of a question I was asked recently about why the ocean is so often used as a medium for dark fiction. I answered the question badly. This is what I wanted to say.

From a personal point of view, I've always had a fairly healthy terror of the sea, but I know I'm not alone in that. We have long been obsessed by what we imagine lurks in the deep. Novels like Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Conan Doyle's The Maracot Deep, celebrate lost worlds and civilisations - and discoveries that always come at a price.

We recognise that we can't ever know what alien creatures exist too far beyond our reach or knowledge, and so create legends and monsters that we are better able to understand. To control. Classic tales like Moby Dick, Megalodon, and H.G. Wells', The Sea Raiders, describe a sense of awe usurped; a human need to conquer that is arrogance as much as obsession. But there are a great many more stories - most notably true accounts - that speak of neither wonder nor vanity. Novels like Adrift or Staring Into the Abyss, which describe only our own powerlessness when set against the might of the sea.

As Andrew quite rightly realised, I wanted to convey all of these opinions through the development of Frenzy's characters. All are very different; all exhibit differing responses to their predicament: awe, respect, fear, arrogance, anger and obsession. And these reactions are not static. They change as the story changes - as people always change.

Ultimately there are two stories within Frenzy. On the surface, there are the physical and mental battles to survive an indifferent host and its monsters - lurking among which is a far greater horror. And under the surface, there is the hidden spectre of what the ocean represents. Our own demons, our own fears. An insurmountable sense of what it is to be alone and a recognition of our own insignificance.

Principally I wanted Frenzy to frighten, of course I did. But it was also very much my intention to affect, to move. I wanted anyone picking it up to be invested, excited, saddened, even amused. Because so little in this world is truly black or white.

And that is what the ocean has always been for me. A monster of its own that redeems as often as it takes. A monster that forces introspection, and reminds us that for all our achievements there is still much that we can't ever know or control.

The sea is the last great unknown on this Earth. It is fear and it is wonder. And it is not a place that you are ever likely to bump into me!

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity; and it was not meant that we should voyage far."
The Call of the Cthulhu; H.P. Lovecraft

Frenzy is available from, and electronically from

Find out more about Carole Johnstone at:

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Eight men wake up alone in a life raft, in the middle of the ocean, with no idea how they got there. That’s the premise in Carole Johnstone’s thought-provoking debut novella, Frenzy.

The story is true horror, but anyone looking at the cover and expecting to see the thrust of the story being the characters bloodied and devoured by sharks and other marine nasties is going to be disappointed. Or perhaps pleased, because although big fish add to the effect, this story takes you into the true fears lurking in the recesses of the characters. At one stage I was really inside the mind of the hero, Pete, as he looks down into an almost bottomless depth of water beneath him. I could feel his frustration, surrounded by sea, but unable to drink. In the almost exquisite characterisation, as we see what makes each of the characters tick, and the personal demons driving them.

Johnstone has put together a mishmash of people, cleverly using characters who play off each other to increase the tension. Some get on, some don’t, but all serve their purpose. The story pulls no punches in playing on the character’s relationships. It is very raw and maybe near to the knuckle in places, a feeling helped by the stark writing style and the decent pacing. It had me questioning myself, asking, ‘would I behave like that?’ given the stress of the situation. The author has obviously done her research on the effects of exposure at sea, and the deterioration in mind and spirit comes over excellently.

I have – rightly, I think - enthused over the book; but was there anything that didn’t work for me? Well, I always felt slightly in the dark about the ‘why’ of the men’s captivity – I would have liked to have the hints thrown at me earlier to avoid the nagging feeling of not quite knowing everything I wanted to.

The novel includes a lot of flashbacks. These are notoriously difficult to incorporate into any work, and to a large extent Johnstone skilfully pulls them off. In one or two places, though, I did feel the flashbacks butted in when the now was more important.

My criticisms are only minor nits, though. All in all, this doesn’t read like a first stand-alone release. Frenzy is a mature-looking work from a writer who clearly enjoys the craft and who hits the keyboard with confidence.

Frenzy is available from, and electronically from

Find out more about Carole Johnstone at:

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Today's the Day!

Do you know how sometimes you wait so long for something, that you think the day will never come?

That's how summer has always felt for me. But today, the football season restarts. I'll be giving up a day's writing to travel to the Recreation Ground, to watch (the mighty) Aldershot Town take on Darlington. Read a preview here.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A pose for a picture...or a lesson in love?

That's the tag for my new work - 'The Shoot'. 'Shoot' is an erotic prequel to The Wood, and has a tentative publication date of December. I'll confirm the publisher when contracts are signed (just in case anything goes wrong). In the meantime, here's the cover art:

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Interview with a hero

I've added an 'interview' with Peter Davis, 'Andraste's Blade's' hero, to my web site:

Thursday, 9 July 2009


At least, that’s what SkyWalker at thinks about The Wood, having given it a humbling five out of five. Apparently, it has ‘..a first-rate cast of characters, human and not, and a very good story line.’

Read the full review here!

Visit GhostWriter Literary Reviews at:

Another review has come from, who gave The Wood a highly pleasing 2.5 (out of four), and felt it could make a good movie. The book is decscribed as ‘…a page turner…’

Read the full review here!

Visit Static Multimedia at:

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Future Plans

So, with the euphoria of ‘The Wood’s’ publication little more than a happy memory, what am I up to writing-wise at the moment?

Well, ‘The Wood’s ’ prequel is in its final stages, being reviewed as I write. It’s an erotic flashback to Kath’s first love that didn’t make the final cut in ‘The Wood’. It’s probably passable as a stand alone longish short (or a short novella?), though. I hope tying it in to an already published novel will increase its changes of publication. Any foray into erotica, though, is likely to be a one-off. Boy, do I find writing erotic scenes difficult!

Another novella, ‘The Well’, is already in the queue for a Critters review. It’s a tribute to Richard Laymon’s style and type of subject matter, about a woman who wakes up from a drugged sleep to find herself a prisoner in a dried-up well. Her story entwines with a teenager who is stuck up a tree.

I’m also tidying up a couple of older novels. “The Mound’ is a tongue-in-cheek story about a football (soccer, to some readers!) team who sacrifice away supporters to the gods in order to secure a win. I put some opening chapters through Critters, and got a better reception than I’d expected. I’m finishing this, and will put the whole thing through Critters.

‘The Doe and the Dragon’ is a story set in North Wales in the mid-fifth century. This time and place are, of course, thick with Arthurian myth. While Arthurian characters and events play a part – it’s almost impossible not to include them – I categorically don’t see this as an Arthurian story (even if it’s early working title was ‘Pre-Arthurian Fantasy’!). I love the time and place, which I studied at university, and I hope this affection comes through in the piece.

‘Doe and Dragon’ has been through Critters, and the feedback will be useful. I need to focus much more on the characters, especially the growing relationship between my hero and heroine. The hero in particular needs more work, feedback suggests. That’s fine, as I wasn’t certain the plot worked, but people seemed to endorse it. It’s a relief as if the plot didn’t work, that would have been terminal!

There's also a slasher set in a remote Scottish castle, mixing ghosts and serial killers, but I'm having trouble getting it to work so have put it to one side for a while after about 20k words. Maybe Critters will be able to tell me where I'm going wrong.

Also, I’m thinking about the next new work and I’ve even drafted a tentative first chapter. I’m having difficulty working up enthusiasm while there’s still a lot of older stuff needing attention, though. ‘The Bog’ is set in Celtic Ireland, and involves dark things like bog bodies, human sacrifice, Samhain (Celtic Halloween), ghosts and the like. It should be great fun to write, but at the moment it’s still being planned. It’s unlikely to be more than a novella, but I’m considering bringing it up to novel length by adding a sequel-type thing based in the modern day.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Goldie and the Three Bares

Most people who know me will be aware that I studied archaeology at university. I specialised in fifth to seventh century Britain, and worked on a handful of digs, including one in Scotland.

Fellow Eternal Press author Kat Duarte’s June release, Goldie and the Three Bares, is about an archaeologist working on a site in Scotland, in what I think of as ‘my’ period. There was no way I was going to let this one pass without being read!

The story is en erotic romp through history, focussing on Goldie’s – the archaeologist’s – hunt to decipher the Pictish language – a real-life problem for historians. Things don’t quite go to plan, with Goldie’s adventures being played out in an enjoyable romp through the period, that reflects the title brilliantly.

I have to admit that I don’t really know the erotic genre well enough to pass critical comment on quite how good it is compared to other stories. I did, though, love the comedy that runs throughout, particularly in the early part of the story. Kat has given Goldie a deliciously naughty sense of humour, and this had me grinning in several places, and made the book a very relaxed read. I’d even suggest this is a fun book as much as an erotic one!

And the history? Well, the period specialist may raise an eyebrow in a couple of places, but, even coming from the history angle, I don’t think it matters. The book is such a fun read that I was immersed in Goldie’s world and stopped looking for the history after the first few pages.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed Goldie and the Three Bares.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Too Much Research?

I’m back off holiday now. We (me, wife and child) had a really relaxing week in our favourite haunt, north Wales. We climbed Snowdon (well, we got part way up until fatigue and my thing about sheer drops defeated us), had refreshments from an award-winning ice-cream shop in Beddgelert, and we generally unwound.

As an aside, writers might enjoy the legend of Gelert, which gives the village its name – it’s got a great plot!

Anyway, a bonus reason for going to north Wales was so I could do some more research on my 5th century story I have set there (working title: ‘The Doe and the Dragon’). Having lived in the area I know most of the places I’ve used pretty well, and my background in the place’s history and archaeology gives some confidence that I can get the background right.

The only place in the story I’ve not visited is Carn Fadryn, a little-known hillfort on the Llyn Peninsula. I need the hillfort as it’s associated with Sister Modrun, (legendary) granddaughter of High King Vortigern. She plays a prominent role in the story, so I wanted to get Carn Fadryn in there!

I had assumed the fort would be similar to Tre’r Ceiri, another fort in the area. Tre’r Ceiri has been described as the best preserved hillfort in Britain. This is mainly because everything is of stone. In one place, you can even walk through the rampart through a gateway, under the original lintel – and this is two thousand years old! Also, some of the huts survive to about waist height, again due to them being made of stone, as opposed to the turf/wood combination in the lowlands.

Sadly we didn’t make Carn Fadryn’s summit – a combination of my sunburn and wife’s wobbly legs, both results of the assault on Snowdon the previous day. It looked vary steep. And imagine my concern when from our distance we saw no ramparts, and a very steep, uneven slope – not the smooth, easy-to-run-across fort I’d hoped for, based on several walks up Tre’r Ceiri.

Would this scupper my story? “Do American publishers know the topography of obscure Welsh hillforts?” I asked wife and child, in a panic.

Both assured me that it was unlikely. And I decided that maybe I was doing a little too much research, and would allow myself some license…

The good news is, that I’ve looked on Google Earth and surfed for pictures. Thankfully, the view of Carn Fadryn from below is deceptive, and there are huts and ramparts, even if it’s a little rougher than my ideal. I got some good pointers, though – I need to change my draft to take into account the steep approach, for example. And the way the hill just sticks out of the ground in an area of otherwise gentle hills makes it visible from miles around.

We go up to Wales again in August, and this time we won’t attempt Carn Fadryn the day after Snowdon. And in future, I’ll do my research before writing.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


I've had an article on characterisation published at Horror Writers UK.

This gives an outline of the process I used in getting my group of adventurers ready to enter 'The Wood'.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Washer at the Ford

I've added the first Celtic fantasy/horror I ever wrote to my web site.

This story was first published in 'Unhinged' in 1999. As I own all the rights to the shorts I've had published, I'll post a few others on my site in due course.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Wood's Sales

They say statistics don’t prove anything. However, given that publishers don’t release sales figures until the end of a quarter – even to authors – it takes a bit of detective work to find out how books are doing. (And it’s quite right that publishers don’t provide figures on request, even to authors – they have better things to do than respond to daily requests for updates!).

So, how is ‘The Wood’ doing?

Well, I don’t know in terms of number of sales. Fictionwise, though, list all Eternal Press (EP) publications by (electronic) sales, and Wood is listed as the fourth best selling EP work during the last 20 days. That makes Wood the fourth best selling title out of the eight released this month.

Considering some of my fellow EP authors have a back catalogue and therefore an established following, and that I hold down a day job and so have limited marketing time, I think that’s a respectable showing.

Mobipocket have me down as 50th out of 164 EP titles. I assume that’s an all time list; if so, I’m particularly pleased.

I terms of hardcopy, Amazon have me down as 6th out of 20 recent (last 30 days) EP releases; again, I’m happy with that.

Something I did notice is that Fictionwise show Andraste’s Blade as the second best selling Dark Realm Press title over the last 20 days. That has surprised me a bit, but I have been using Wood’s release as en excuse to advertise my ‘back catalogue’ as well. It’ll be interesting to see at the end of the quarter how much – if at all - Blade’s sales have risen as a result.

Here we are...

Hello everyone and welcome to my Blogger blog!

I already have a blog over at Livejournal, and I'll be maintaining both, at least for the time being. I've decided to open this duplicate blog because it seems to be the one most of my fellow-writers use, and it also seemes to have more options, that are of use to writers.