Saturday, 29 July 2017

Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable

After years of training, honing his skills in the art of detection, Oscar Tremont is set to make his inaugural appearance. Are you ready? "The Hunt for the Stayne Fortune" finds our hero cracking codes, donning disguises, and saving the day. This novella is for fans of old-fashioned mystery with Victorian charm and spirit in a contemporary setting.

Let's whet your appetite with a few facts about Oscar Tremont! 

Favourite beverage: Whisky, preferably Lagavulin
Bad habit: Breaking and entering
Good habit: Following his conscience (even if that means breaking and entering)
Distinguishing features: His musketeer moustache
Achilles' heel: Now, that would be telling! 

Join the virtual launch and preorder your Kindle copy today!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Into the Woods: An Anthology of Sylvan Stories

"Forgotten Falls", a sylvan story about a German metaphysicist on a personal journey to a haunted waterfall in remote Australia, is out now in "Into the Woods". It joins a host of atmospheric tales set in forests from the likes of Ramsey Campbell and Tracy Fahey. Hannah Kate, the editor, has kindly answered a few questions about the anthology, forests, and her publishing project, Hic Dragones.

 1. The title of the anthology, Into the Woods, is very evocative. What inspired you to choose this theme?

A lot of our favourite fiction has a distinctive sense of place – from Stephen King’s New England to Agatha Christie’s country houses – and so we do tend towards publishing stories that have a strong connection to particular spaces (real and fictional). The novels we’ve published all have this – with the seaside (Blood and Water), the city (Aimee and the Bear and Psychic Spiders!) and the forest (The Tattooed Wolf) – and our anthologies also tend to have this focus. A lot of the stories in Hauntings focused on uncanny and unsettling inside spaces, so it made sense that our next collection would be outside. The woods were an obvious choice, because there are just so many different types of forests and woodlands, and they evoke so many different types of response.

2. Do you have a favourite forest, and what draws you to it?

I have a soft spot for those ‘forests’ that are called ‘semi-natural woodland’ in the UK. These are patches of woodland that have mostly grown up naturally – often on the site of ancient forests – but which may only be a few hundred years old and may be the result of replanting. As a child, I lived near Inglewood Forest in Cumbria and then next to Blackley Forest in Manchester, so these are the sorts of woods that I’m used to. What fascinates me about these woodlands is the way the history of trees interweaves with the history of people. Trees are felled and houses built, but then houses are demolished and a forest is planted. I think people often overlook this complex history, because they assume that a forest is either ancient woodland or a new cultivation, and that once a forest is cut down that’s the end of the story. I like the places in between, the places that aren’t ancient but aren’t new either. My story in Into the Woods takes place in urban woodland spaces – those places where the trees came back. Officially, these woodlands are created and maintained by people… but maybe the forest also finds its own ways to exert control?

My current favourite examples of urban woodland spaces are all in North Manchester: Bowker Bank Woods (in Crumpsall), Baileys Wood (in Blackley) and Boggart Hole Clough (also in Blackley).

3. Forests have always had a deep-rooted effect on the human psyche, whether as places of refuge or of danger. Why do you think this is? Has this changed over time as the world’s forests dwindle?

I think our fascination with forests goes hand-in-hand with our project of deforestation, to be honest. In Britain, ancient forests began to be systematically cut down during the Anglo-Saxon period (it’s not a new phenomenon!), but a kind of folk memory of the forest has persisted. For instance, despite the fact that it hasn’t been true for over a millennium (if, indeed, it was ever true), it’s still reasonably well-known that once upon a time you could cross the entire country without ever touching the ground. On the one hand, I think there’s a nostalgia about the forest – it’s part of the ancient landscape, and so it’s a romantic and imaginative place. On the other hand, there’s a sort of buried guilt about its destruction – it’s something natural and powerful that was destroyed (is still being destroyed) by the relentless march of human progress. In a way, it’s a bit like our relationship with certain wild animals, like wolves (in the UK particularly). We don’t have to live in the forest with the wolves anymore, so we’re free to idealise and romanticise them – but we also know it was us that killed the wolves and uprooted the trees, and there’s always the fear of being somehow held to account one day.

4. What are your aims for Hic Dragones?

Hic Dragones is a micropress with ambitions of becoming a small press – we’re not after global domination just yet! At the moment, we’re focusing on publishing a small number of new books each year, and on publishing our new editions of Victorian penny dreadfuls. As well as Into the Woods, we have another anthology coming out this year (Nothing) and then we’ll be opening submissions for our next project. We’re currently publishing instalments of our edition of George Reynolds’s Faust – an early Victorian penny dreadful about the man who sold his soul to the devil. We’re really pleased to be able to publish Faust, as this is the first modern edition of Reynolds’s serial, and we’ve been able to include the original illustrations as well. Once Faust comes to the end of its run, we’re going to be announcing the publication dates for Spring Heel’d Jack. In a nutshell, I guess our aims are pretty simple: we just want to keep publishing stories that we like and encouraging people to read them!

5. You chose to include my story, Forgotten Falls, in the anthology. Thanks, by the way. What was it that appealed to you?

For me, the story’s appeal lay in the way that all-important sense of place was combined with a sense of character. Without any heavy-handed exposition, we get to know the protagonist Schenker and the things that have brought him to where he is at the start of the story – but Schenker’s history (and his future) are completely bound up with the forest in which he finds himself. He believes he is completely in control of his surroundings – in fact, he’s so busy thinking about people that he barely gives the forest itself a second though – but is he really in control?

Another thing I liked about the story was the type of forest that you chose. As I said, there are so many different types of woods and forests, so we were keen to reflect this in the stories we chose. ‘Forgotten Falls’ takes us to a subtropical rainforest, a place that’s very different from the ancient forests, urban woodlands and patches of wilderness found in other stories in the collection. One of the real pleasures of putting together Into the Woods came from seeing the ways in which writers evoked such an interesting array of settings.

6. Lastly, where can we buy a copy?

The book is available in paperback and eBook from our website and from all good online retailers, including Amazon. For readers in the UK, the paperback edition can also be ordered by local bookshops and libraries.

Bio: Hannah Kate is an editor and writer based in North Manchester. She is the founder and editor-in-chief at Hic Dragones, and has had stories and poetry published in a number of anthologies and magazines. She also presents a weekly literature show on North Manchester FM, imaginatively entitled Hannah’s Bookshelf, and she is currently the treasurer of the Friends of Crumpsall Park.

Links: Hic Dragones – (FB: hicdragones, Twitter: @HicDragones) Hannah Kate – (FB: HannahsBookshelf, Twitter: @HannahKateish)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Man behind the Shadows

It's Christmas soon - very soon - and bookworms know what that means, right? Yes, you got it, ghost story time! "The Sorrowful Wife" is one of three ghost stories of mine to be published in 2016; an eerie accomplishment that took me by surprise. Mark Nixon, the editor of Shadows at the Door, which is a fully illustrated hardcover anthology of new ghost tales in the old tradition, has kindly accepted to answer a few questions for you, the fan of all things phantasmal.

1. What inspired you to produce Shadows at the Door? 
A love of classical horror and sharing stories. Ghost Stories are meant to be shared, and that's exactly why was founded. To tell new and terrifying horror stories in an accessible way. Of course, after a while, fans of the site began to call out for a published book featuring their favourite authors, and I'm nothing if not a servant to them.

2. Where did the idea for the title come from?
Shadows at the Door represents what I believe is the true strength of horror: the implied. Once you see a monster, or a killer, fear can be deconstructed, you can plan, spot weaknesses and so on. But the unknown? A silhouette stood at the foot of your bed? Well, that could be anything, and that's terrifying! Anyone who has been home alone and spotted an unknown shadow at the door knows true fear.

3. Why would the anthology make for a great Christmas gift?
Ghost Stories are a quintessential part of Christmas, it's one of life's great pleasures to sit by the fire and read a pleasing terror. M.R. James in particular continued this tradition and many of the stories in the anthology are inspired by him. It's also a beautifully presented book, and a handsome addition to any bookshelf.

4. What are your other (not in this anthology) favourite ghost stories?
How much time do you have? I'll limit myself to some favourites such as Oh Whistle and I'll Come to you My Lad, The Signalman, Rats, Canon Alberic''s Scrapbook, The Monkey's Paw, The Upper Berth, The Mezzotint, Number 13 and controversially, The Price as I'd like to think it counts as a ghost story.

5. Where can we grab a copy of the anthology?
Hardbacks can be bought on the Shadows at the Door website, and the ebook is coming to Amazon before Christmas. The fully scored Audiobook is due in the near year!

Thank you, Mark.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Murder on the Cogsworthy Express

This one is for lovers of murder mysteries. Murder on the Cogsworthy Express is a howdunnit set in a clockwork world. It has all the trappings of a traditional mystery tale, but the characters and modus operandi are highly original. If you have an analytical mind, you can try your hand at solving this mystery, and dozens more, in Gothic Fantasy: Crime and Mystery. An ebook version will be available through Amazon in early November.

Contemporary contributing authors:
Tara Campbell, Jennifer Dornan-Fish, James Dorr, Marcelle Dubé, H.L. Fullerton, Jennifer Gifford, Nathan Hystad, John A. Karr, Kin S. Law, Josh Pachter, Tony Pi, Conor Powers-Smith, Stephen D. Rogers, Steve Shrott, Annette Siketa, Dan Stout, Brian Trent, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Ruth Nestvold

There are also tales from classic scribes including Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, G.K. Chesterton, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickins, Maurice Leblanc, Jack London, and Mark Twain.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Tunnel Runner Has Escaped

Dear Reader, I'd like to invite you to the online launch of "The Tunnel Runner", a tale of urban adventure, social discontent, and psychological suspense that will drag you down to the sewers before returning you to the surface again... if you're lucky. There are competitions galore, as well as sneak peeks, and details on the places and music that inspired the tunnel world.

The Tunnel Runner Facebook Launch

There is one paperback giveaway and several ebook giveaways, so enter all of them to boost your chances!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Tunnel Runner by Cameron Trost

The Tunnel Runner

by Cameron Trost

Giveaway ends September 22, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


You could win an ebook copy of the novel right here on my blog! Just follow these steps:
a) Add your email address to receive updates by email (on the right-hand side near the top)
b) Follow this blog ((on the right-hand side near the bottom)
A lucky winner will be randomly selected before the release of the ebook, which is on the 22nd of September. Good luck!

For your chance to win an ebook copy of The Tunnel Runner, simply buy and review any of my ebooks on Smashwords and add me as a "favorite":
A lucky winner will be randomly selected before the release of the ebook, which is on the 22nd of September.

Win an ebook copy of The Tunnel Runner by purchasing my short story collection, Hoffman's Creeper and Other Disturbing Tales, and leaving a rating and review on Amazon before the 22nd of September.

You could win an ebook copy of The Tunnel Runner simply by "liking" my Facebook page. If the page reaches 1000 followers by the 22nd of September, one lucky fan will be randomly selected.

If you'd rather just buy a copy of The Tunnel Runner, click here to order your copy today.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Morbid Metamorphosis

The Corkscrew and the Void, a tale of psychological horror which explores the unfathomable depths of the human psyche from the confines of a hotel room, has been published in the inaugural anthology from Lycan Valley Press. This book contains twenty-two stories by authors from around the world. Together they bring you morbidly terrifying tales of metamorphosis, transformation, and deep horror that will follow you for days after you've read the last page. Beware reading this book at night, and alone - for the mind is a powerful thing, and you may find you have company in the shadows!
   Authored by Greg Chapman, Nickolas Furr, Nancy Kilpatrick, Gregory L Norris, Daniel I Russell, MJ Preston, Suzanne Robb, Amanda J Spedding, Franklin E Wales, Roy C Booth, Terri Delcampo, Dave Gammon, Suzie Lockhart, Donna Marie West, Jo-Anne Russell, Rod Marsden, Simon Dewar, Cameron Trost, Stacey Turner, Ken MacGregor. Edited by Robert Nelson.

Morbid Metamorphosis is available now from AmazonCreateSpace and Smashwords.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Dinosaurs: My Very First Story?

Here's a little work of fiction my mother recently unearthed during a palaeontological dig through a box containing some relics from my school days. This artefact dates from circa 1988 and may very well be my first work of written fiction (although I know this was not the first draft of Dinosaurs). I assure you that my knowledge of English grammar and punctuation has greatly improved since I penned this particular piece, but it probably represents the apogee of my imagination. What do you think?

If you'd like to read some of my more recent work, simply click a cover image on your right-hand side.