Friday, 9 October 2015

Overthinking and Creative Genius

Some one posted a link to this article on Facebook today and when I read it, I identified with it in ways that I had not perhaps previously acknowledged.

You see, I like to see myself as a Devil-May-Care kind of girl, you know the kind with a toothbrush in their pocket and ticket to freedom. It's a myth I have invented about myself. I'm a good actor. When I shrug and say things like "What will be will be, there's no use worrying about it," I'm actually trying to silence the myriad of rushing doomsday thoughts that are playing out like some kind of post-apocalyptic film.

The same neurological frenzy that sparks off that ideas moment for a book, story, painting is the same spark that imagines a thousand possible ways it might fail, a thousand ways you might be humiliated, or a thousand ways it might be prevented.

This constant battle between the incredible imagination to create, and the imagination that it might all go terribly wrong, in the most humiliating of ways, is exhausting. And this bleeds out into every other aspect of life. No decision can be made without those neurons firing of a million disordered imaginings; some good and joyous, but most fearsome and anxious.

I overthink literally everything, from the smallest social interaction, to what to feed the family for dinner. A decision is rarely isolated without a whole web of other analysis taking place; connotations, consequences, multiple-interpretations, perspectives, empathies, second-guessing. Like in the case of dinner I think,  'I'll feed the daughter pasta - because it's her favourite - because she needs cheering up - oh, is she not happy then - what's not making her happy? - Is it me? How can I help her? Maybe I can't help her? Maybe this is transference? Maybe I'm not happy? Am I happy? ....... and so on and so on until I'm stood there five minutes later with the pasta in hand thinking, 'Damn it, Pasta is quick and easy to make. (full stop)'

And it's the curse of a narrative voice that articulates these worries, concerns and questions. But at the same time, it's the blessing of the narrative voice that allows me to conjure other worlds and create characters that  become substantial and real - just like the anxieties.

Sound familiar?

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Welcome to day 8 of the OctoberFrights Blog Hop. Today I'm talking serials and introducing you to my new dreadpunk, gothic, detective, fairy tale serial coming out in December called 'Beautiful Freaks'.

Leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning these really fab Jack earrings and a paperback copy of the orginal novel, Beautiful Freaks, which inspired the series.

I know that many of you have  fallen in love with drama series thanks to NETFLIX, HBO and FOX. And having the technology to record, store and consume episodes has made following series an even more delectable experience. I'm a series junkie too; Hannibal, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones, The Following to name a few that have captured my adoration over the last few years. There are many approaches to the consumption of serials, but whether you are a binger or a pacer, the one thing most people agree is that serials allow the viewer to really engage in a world, and to bond with the characters in a very unique fashion.

So T.V series are fab, but have you tried the same principle with your reading? I'm not talking traditional novel series, where each full length book is released at eagerly anticipated 12+
month intervals, but a weekly, Thursday downloadable episode, each of a short novella length and designed specifically to keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait for Thursday to come around again.

Whilst attending UtopYA I came across this amazing concept and curious, I became hooked. I love the whole experience of consuming an episode and then being forced to wait with anticipation for the next.

This December sees the release of my own 12 episode serial called 'Beautiful Freaks'.

STARTING DECEMBER 3rd 2015 until 28th FEBRUARY 2016


A dark and twisted saga that winds its way through the Victorian streets of London like a luxurious and lethal ribbon.

When a series of terrifying and seemingly paranormal murders occur at a rapid rate, panic and fear grip the city. Still haunted by the ghost of the Whitechapel Ripper case, Inspector Steptree is forced to admit the murderer he now pursues maybe even more wicked and brutal. As the case closes down on the mysterious No.7 club, owned by the enigmatic Evangeline Valentine, Steptree discovers that evil is far from a fantasy.

It is against this backdrop that Kaspian Blackthorne turns eighteen and begins his apprenticeship under the scientific maverick, Doctor Greyson, a pioneer in brain surgery, and human transplantation. Whilst Kaspian is introduced to the horrors and wonders of man’s scientific progress, he also begins an epic adventure of self-discovery and infatuation. Guided into the decadent and luxuriant world of the London West End night scene by his new friend Hugh Denvers, Kaspian tastes the sweet temptation of a life less ordinary, but such a privilege comes at a terrible price.

A cast of timeless characters and dark, grown-up fairy tales interweave to create a rich and haunting tale of fear and desire.

Based on the original novel, ‘Beautiful Freaks’ written and published in 2013 by Katie M John, this series is a development of that world. This is the first season of a planned three seasons.

You can find out more about this season and forthcoming seasons on the official site.

#Gothic #Dreadpunk #Paranormal #Demons #Fae #FairyTales #Phantoms #Vampires #Creations #Frankenstein #ParanormalRomance #Murder #Detective #Horror #SecretSocieties #CrossOver #UpperYA

 Published by Little Bird Publishing, Katie M John is the author of the U.K No.1 best-selling YA Paranormal Romance and Dark Fairy Tale series, The Knight Trilogy.

You can find out more about Katie and her books over at her Amazon Author Page
LINK TO EPISODE 1 & 2 Of Beautiful Freaks out on Thursday 3rd December 2015
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Amazon USA


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Let's play Beautiful Bodies.

It's day 6 of the #OctoberFrights blog hop and I'm having such a good time. Thank you to all of you who have swung by the blog, read some posts, played some games and generally hung out and had fun.

It's Tuesday. Personally, I have always found Tuesdays to be the most underwhelming day of the week, so let's change that - let's have some fun, play some games, get a conversation going and rock this whole Halloween thing out.

Win a beautiful Venetian style
Halloween Ball Mask
like this one. All you got to
do is play along.
Well done to those of you who came over to play Three Little Words last week. There were truly some very awesome 3 word flash fiction pieces. Prizes will be announced in a week or so.
Today we are going to play a game that the Surrealist brotherhood called, 'Beautiful Bodies' - but rather than drawing, we're going to use words.


I am going to start off a creepy little tale of woe and wonder here at the bottom of this post. It will be an opening paragraph. The first person to arrive and open the comment box is going to add a paragraph onto the story, and then the next will write the next paragraph, and so on and son on, reaching out into the far and distant future.

Try to leave a little hook for the following person to work with - the aim of the game is collaboration, but feel to twist and turn that plot and genre - that's part of the fun. If you're feeling really cruel then you can leave the sentence half-finished.

Keep it clean - snogging is totes allowed. Chopping up is allowed, but don't do dead babies, rampant nookie or any crazy psychosexual weirdness.

Your paragraph maybe as short as you like, but no hogging - you're allowed a total of 50 words. Keep it tight guys.

PRIZE - A masquerade mask - because after all that's what Halloween is about - oh that and a packet of Garabaldi biscuits because we're keeping it surreal folks. All you got to do is play, and one lucky winner will be picked at random in a week or so. Happy writing.

Here is the beginning of our dastardly tale.

Maria looked in the mirror and smoothed her hands over her silk wrapped hips. Tonight was going to be a good night; a very good night. The moon was full and the winds had changed from the warm southern winds to the cold northern gusts. It was the perfect night to.....

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Dare You Visit The Haunted Village of Heargton?

The sleepy, rural village of Heargton in the U.K has always been a magical place. Ever since the first bronze age settlers built their home and buried their dead in the ancient burial mound that lies West of the village.

Now the village, with just over 1,500 habitants continues to be a place of significant paranormal interest due to its positioning at the intersection of powerful ley lines. At the very intersection of the lines is the village well, which local legend has it is a portal to the underworld.

The Heargton well is also significant due to it's nefarious and continuous connections with witchcraft. In the 13th century the rafters of the well served as a makeshift gallows from which three young and beautiful sisters were hanged, accused of witchcraft, sorcery and the murder of several young women from the village.

Their cottage, up on the top of Heathmoor Hill, North to the village, still stands although it is now in ruins. The cottage has become the focus of many recent paranormal investigations, including the televised investigation conducted by Ghost Raiders, aired on HNC in 2013.

It is believed that there are several covens still active in the surrounding area. There is much evidence of Satanic and Pagan activity in the form of graffiti, livestock injuries and totems that can be seen hanging in several places around the village. The village continues to celebrate many ancient pagan rites, including that of the Lighting of The Fires, which takes place in the New Year, and which has become a unique tourist attraction, due to its pretty procession and festivities.

Over the course of the weekend investigation, Ghost Raiders also explored The Green Man Public House, a 13th century coach inn, still in use today and which has changed little in its 650 years. The Green Man prides itself on being 'one of the most haunted pubs in England'. Most dominant of its spirits being that of a large Tudor innkeeper who has not taken kindly to the subsequent owners, a Grey Lady who is believed to be a jilted lover abandoned mid-plan, and a friendly basset hound who still warms himself by the fire. As an interesting aside, The Green Man is also the original home of 'The Green Man Music Festival' which has become a cult festival drawing lovers of rock music from all over the country.

Heargton is home to two important historical houses. Cold Stone House, South of The Village is home to the Chase family; a branch of which is now located in New York, U.S.A in the form of the Pharmaceutical giants, Chase Enterprises. This branch of the family orginonated from one of the brothers who departed for the U.S.A in the earliest days, finding himself in Salem, Massachuttes and partaking in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Cold Stone House is still home to Lady Penelope Asquithe; the remaining Chase of her bloodline. The family are notoriously secretive and have always been so. Little is known of them except that their family has been blighted by tragedy over the years; including deaths of all the male line in World War I, a tragic murder, suicide in the late nineteen forties of a woman and baby, and several other untimely ends.

To the North of the village is the imposing Gothic monstrosity of a country house called Ravenheart Hall, a suitable name. Built in red London brick during the Tudor period, it nestles, almost hidden between the ancient burial ground and Raven Woods. An incredibly rich and powerful family, with regal connections, the Ravenheart family were philanthropic with their wealth, building both the Heargton library and The Rookeries Hospital. However, despite these acts of generosity over the years, The Ravenhearts have not always been thought of kindly; there are several more nefarious figures in the Ravenheart lineage, including slave traders, tyrants, suicides and links to the occult. Descendants of The Ravenheart family continue to live there today.

Within the grounds of Ravenheart Hall are Raven Woods; a spooky forest predominantly formed of tall and shadowy Scott's Pines. The woods have long been associated with the paranormal. Believed to be ancient druid lands, it is believed that the woods are protected by an Elemental drawn forth from the Earth by early Druid Priests. The Raven Woods is now home to the abandoned and derelict Rookeries Hospital, originally built as a maternity hospital, it was refurbished after a terrible fire in which many women and babies died. When it re-opened, it was used as an 'asylum for the criminally insane and morally dissolute.' Many villagers claim to still heart the ghostly voices of the insane when the wind travels in a certain direction.

Raven Woods is also believed to be haunted by the spirits of three virgins, who are connected to the three standing stones which can be seen as you drive along the West Road, but be careful if you do drive that road, especially on a misty night, as you may come across the Headless Hunt, comprised of the hounds of Hell.

BOB TUSSOCK The Highway Man.
If you travel out of the village on the North Road, be sure that you're not driving a red car. Over the course of thirty years there have been over twenty fatal crashes and numerous accidents, all of which have involved red cars. Needless to say that there are very few owners of red cars in the village now. The cause of this improbable 'accident redspot' as locals call it is Bob Tussock, a Highway Man who now haunts the North Road after he was hanged from a post on the spot as brutal warning to other would be Highway Men. It is thought that he still seeks vengeance from the village for both his death and his humiliation.

As well as these paranormal hotspots there are stories of several other entities that have taken residence in the village. Many have seen a ghostly figure of a woman in Victorian black who frequents the churchyard of St.Ursula's Church (West of the Village). There is also local legend that there is a Woman of The Lake who lives in the lake within the grounds of Cold Stone House, and that the Cold Stone Woodlands are home to spirit children who many dog walkers have reported hearing laugh and play.

Book One of The Meadowsweet
Chronicles is on offer for just $0.99
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about the village of Heargton and its paranormal guests. This is where I have to admit dastardly Halloween Trickery and confess that Heargton is a village of my own creation.

If you fancy spending more time in the paranormal world of Heargton then 'Witchcraft', Book One of the epic occult and paranormal saga, 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' is currently on Kindle sale for just 0.99 offer. You can also buy a copy in paperback either from Amazon or direct from me. Head to the website for details.


The first twenty people who comments in the comment box on this post will be sent a signed Meadowsweet postcard and receive a beautiful handmade (by my own fair hands), Tibetan silver charm book mark, like one of these pictured. Leave a comment here and then head over to to send me your postal address. There's quick link on the HOME page.

Book Two of The Meadowsweet
Chronicles is now out!

I hope you have enjoyed this 4th post in the #OctoberFrights Blog Hop. You can read more awesome posts by fellow horror and paranormal authors by either searching the hashtag on Twitter #Octoberfrights or by browsing through linked the blog roll below.

If you have enjoyed your time on this blog, please press the join button in the right hand column.


Saturday, 3 October 2015


October Fright Nights Blog Hop Post II

When most people hear the phrase 'Those three little words' they are put more in mind of Valentine's declarations of 'I Love You', however, we're going to mash that up and play a little Halloween word and creativity game. And if yours is the best entry (I get to judge and the guidelines are wish-washy) then you will get a little Halloween mystery trick or treat bag.

Let's play.

You have just three words to create the creepiest, scariest, freakiest, weirdest, Halloween story ever.
Here are a couple just to get you going, and to give you the confidence that you can clearly ace this competition if this is the standard of the example.

"I was alone."

"The blade fell."

"The virus spread."

"We killed everyone."

See, easy peasy - give it your best shot. Up to three entries per comment box please guys.

Don't forget to swing by the blogs of my fellow horror homies. They've got some great posts up, and some fab trick or treat swag up for grabs too. Thanks for stopping by and playing.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Tales From The Asylum I - New Nurse #OctoberFrightsBlogHop

It's day two of the October Frights Blog Hop and I thought I would share with you a short story from 'The Rookeries' collection; a series that runs on my blog  as blog exclusive serial.
In order to be entered for you mystery Trick or Treat goodie bag then don't forget to leave a comment.

Tales from The Rookeries Asylum I - New Nurse
Originally posted Sunday 29th March
Welcome to the first posting of  Tales from The Asylum, a blog #FlashFiction project of short stories, all less than 2000 words (a 5-10max read). The stories are inspired by location of The Rookeries Asylum, which features in The Meadowsweet Chronicles. I hope you enjoy this short little read. It's called 'New Nurse'. Don't forget to sign up to the blog for updates on the stories to follow. You can read about this blog project in the introductory post, and you can find in the right sidebar a live-link table to other stories in the series as they appear.

Tales from The Asylum I: New Nurse

The bus dropped me off in the village of Heargton. The Asylum, I had been told, was just a short ten minute walk through the village on the East Road. The Matron had neglected to inform me that the way would be little more than a mud track through a creepy wood. I looked down at my once pristine white nurses’ shoes and sighed. Mud-spattered was not the first impression I had intended to make. I hoped she would put it down to youthful ignorance rather than carelessness.

My mother had cried when I’d left for my first day in my new job. She’d had noble and romantic notions of me being a modern day Florence Nightingale; falling for some heroic soldier who I helped heal in both body and soul, not spending my days tending to the violent and criminally insane.

I shivered with the quiet fear that was unravelling in my stomach. The wind wound its way through the trunks of the tall Scots Pines creating an eerie, mournful moan. As I walked, it became a chorus of other pitiful cries – those of human relics. I looked at my watch, knowing exactly what time it was. I had planned my journey meticulously. But there was something in the shadowy gloom that made me question momentarily if I hadn’t somehow been tricked. It read two p.m.

The Rookeries grew from some haunted looking dolls’ house into a Victorian redbrick monstrosity. Gothic revival in style, the whole thing was decorated like an over the top wedding cake, as if somehow they could hide the ugliness incarcerated within from the outside world. I wasn’t fooled. There was something sinister about the florid stone floristry – as if it might contain a hundred deadly vipers.

I rang the bell and waited. I didn’t have to wait for long. It was opened by a squat woman with a sour mouth. Her eyes coldly and slowly appraised me from head to toe. Her lips twisted at the sight of my shoes. There was something in her look that made me feel naked, as if I were little more than meat on a butcher’s counter.
   “You’re late,” she said by way of welcome.
I glanced down at my watch. It was three minutes past two.
   “I’m sorry,” I said doing my best to hide my irritation with a look of contrition.
   “Well, you’d better come in. Doctor Mappin is waiting for you,” she said, turning her back on me and leading me into the cave-like hallway.

I scanned the room, taking in the heavy oak furniture and black and white tiles. It looked like the hallway of a country house, rather than an asylum, although I was soon to learn that like everything else I had seen of the place so far, it was a front to the inner horror.

A scream came from somewhere deep inside the hospital and startled me. As if the nurse had eyes in the back of her head, she said,
  “You get used to the noises after a time.” She led me up the sweeping staircase and along a corridor of glass windowed offices. Some of them had a row of sorry little metal chairs outside, which I guessed were for waiting relatives. I was instructed to take one of them outside an office which had the title of MATRON painted in gold on its window. The nurse walked further down the corridor before knocking on what I presumed must be the office of Doctor Mappin. ‘Strange’ I thought, that I should not have been asked to sit on one of the chairs outside of his office.


“The girl has finally arrived.”
Doctor Mappin peered over his papers. His half-moon glasses glinted in the afternoon grey winter light.  
   “Good, good.” He nodded.
Nurse Mary waited for the doctor to enquire more, but his attention was clearly drawn to whatever reading material he was holding.
   “She seems quite perfect. I’m sure that she will meet his specific requirements,” Mary said, trying to engage the doctor.
He flicked her a look, and Mary thought she saw the slightest shudder run through his shoulders. Doctor Mappin was essentially a good man, although The Rookeries Asylum was a world within a world in which the usual laws of good and bad were somewhat skewed. He was certainly, of the four doctors that worked here, the best of them. Mary had heard the rumours amongst the patients and other nurses; she’d walked past the locked rooms. No signs instructed, ‘No Entry’ but the keys could never be found.
   “Quite,” he said dismissively, although Mary knew that it was not disinterest but an unwillingness to be too deeply involved in the dark matter.
   “So shall I call her in?”
   “No. Take her straight down to him.”
Mary’s forehead crumpled. “But won’t she find that… strange, doctor?”
  “I really think that is the least of her problems, don’t you?”
Mary nodded and padded silently out of the room.

She smiled at the girl, whose name escaped her. It didn’t matter. In some ways it was better for her not to know. The Matron would take care of contacting her parents; informing them that she hadn’t turned up for her appointment and that her job offer had been withdrawn. They might contact the police and trace her steps as far as the bus station but that would be it. The Rookeries was owned and protected very powerful people.


The nurse came out of the office and smiled at me. It was the first time she had smiled since we’d met. I preferred her scowl; there was something over sweet about her smile, as if her teeth were fashioned of sugar cubes. She apologised on behalf of the doctor, who was ‘very busy’ and had requested that she show me around. She informed me that I was to work primarily with one of their patients; the son of a very wealthy family, although he was not, as he would no doubt claim in his conversations, a prince.
  “No, no, no – imagine the scandal!” she exclaimed in such a way that I immediately suspected that the man may be a prince. “The poor man suffers from delusions of grandeur – he’s very convincing.”

I nodded sagely, hoping that my inexperience and excited curiosity was not too obvious. “Why is he here?”
She flinched, and I wondered what horrible malady the man must suffer to make even an experienced psychiatric nurse recoil.
   “He has…” she struggled with her words, clearly not wanting to tell me and yet feeling compelled to answer a question she’d been asked. “Perhaps it would be an interesting exercise to see what your own assessment is after you meet him.”
Excitement flared. “But he’s,” I cleared my throat, “he’s safe for me to work with, yes?”
   “Aubery is a perfect gentleman,” she reassured.

She pushed open the door and we stepped into the twisted soul of the building. It was a soul made of iron bars, soiled stiff calico and tears – some silent, some screaming. I couldn’t help but look in at the wretched creatures held in their cells. Regardless of their crimes, there was something inhumane and cruel about their plight. My presence caused a ripple of eerie catcalls and outpourings of desperation. As if sensing my horror, the nurse explained,
   “This ward is for the most criminally insane. They are here because their crimes are so awful that Satan himself would have reservations over allowing them in to Hell. Don’t let them move you to pity. If you knew their stories, you’d feel entirely different. Female nurses never work in here. Only the Matron and I are allowed access so that we might tend to Aubery.”

My instincts started a quiet warning. Questions whispered in my mind. Why was I ‘allowed’ here? ‘Why was Aubery so close to such monsters if he wasn’t a monster too?’ My nerves jangled and I felt small the small prickle of sweat on my palms.

At last, we reached the end of the corridor and the nurse rummaged her chatelaine of keys before inserting a large metal key into the lock of the barred door. One through, she locked it behind her, adding to my mounting paranoia. Here, the corridor was flanked either side with wooden doors that were still clearly cells but which offered more privacy than the ones in the previous section. She guided me down to the end and I wondered how often I would have to make this journey before it became part of normal. Here there was silence behind the doors, and I wondered if in fact they were inhabited at all. I wasn’t sure what was worse – to be locked away surrounded by the cries of the tormented mad, or to be cocooned in silence.

The nurse knocked on the door and I was surprised to see that on invite she simply turned the handle and entered: the patient apparently free to enter and leave his room as he pleased.
   “Mary,” he greeted with a voice like a velvet ribbon. “How nice of you to call.”
I smiled inwardly. At last I knew the nurse’s name, and she had been right about his gentlemanly sense of delusion. I stepped into the room behind her and saw how it was far more like an apartment than the cold brick cells I had seen on my journey so far. There were heavy velvet drapes at the barred window, which even at this time of the day, were drawn against the sombre afternoon light. The man, who was unnervingly handsome, was reclined on a threadbare chaise and dressed as if he had raided the clothes rail of the local amateur dramatics society.

Mary turned to me, beckoning me forward and I saw his eyes swivel towards me, giving the unnerving impression of a lizard. He smiled approvingly, and it seemed simple good manners to hold my hand out in greeting, even though it was the very last thing that nursing protocol demanded. I sensed Mary moving towards the door and looked to her for clarification as to what it was I was meant to be doing.

She was already half way out – her body slinking through the closing gap of the door.
   “Enjoy your meal, Aubery,” she said as the door clicked behind her.
I looked to the man and saw him smile. We had not brought a tray of food with us and as I scanned the room, I could see no other lunch set out. I backed towards the door, not taking my eyes off the man on the chaise. His impossibly pointed teeth bit down onto the cushion of his lips, and a flare of hunger flashed through his eyes.
   “Come, little lamb,” he crooned, swinging his legs off the chaise and patting the seat next to him. “Let me tell you a story before I dine.”

The realisation of my fate struck me so hard that I felt physically winded. I tried the door handle, but it simply rattled in my hand, stubbornly refusing to turn. I pummelled the door with my fists until they burned, crying out for Mary – but Mary was gone, and with her, all my hope.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

October Frights Blog Hop: Introduction.

Post I

It's finally October, my favourite month of the year. The month I chose to get married in because to me, it's one of the most romantic times of the year; log fires, good red wine, long chats, snuggles on the sofa... and then of course, it's also the month of one of my favourite holidays, Halloween.

Being English, Halloween has not always been particularly celebrated - but in this house, it's a big deal; a chance to dress up, feast, make merry and remember loved ones passed.

It's also the month that I usually reconnect with my horror homies, catch up with their recent releases and what they've been doing over the year. This year, the wonderful Clarissa Johal has picked up the Halloween blog hop mantle and has organised October Frights Blog Hop. A collection of almost 50 writers of horror in all it's forms (see the blog hop link below)

I and others on the blog hop will be posting throughout the first 10 days of October to get you in the mood for early nights, creeping mists and Halloween. Embrace your dark side. Read some horror.

Just like Trick or Treating, all you need to do is metaphorically knock on the door of the blog pages below and the chances are that you'll bag yourself some really awesome swag as well as learn a whole load of interesting things about these talented authors and their books.

To get the party started, I'm offering a signed paperback edition of 'Witchcraft' to one lucky commenter on this blog post. I'll ship it worldwide but bear in mind it will be snail mail if you're outside of Europe.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

High Five for Autumn


I love autumn. It's by far my favourite season of the year. There is something about autumn that fills me with a real creative energy; a promise of luxury and sensory indulgence. It's a time to slow down and embrace the internal both physically and spiritually.

Autumn creates a rich environment for imagination; mists, darkness, rain all add to that sense of mystery - and amongst all the death, a final blooming beauty; a bright burning of reds and oranges and golds, evoking the idea of the fire from which the phoenix will once again rise.

It's the time that the earth seems to offer up so much, making us feel plentiful and blessed.  A time when both the nights and the family draw in - shutting the door against the cold.

Autumn legitimately allows for hours and hours of reading time, snuggled under blankets with mugs of honeyed creamy coffee, jumpers and cuddles.

Autumn is also home to one of my favourite celebrations of the year, Halloween. In our house we're not afraid to make this pretty much a month long celebration of life and death, of nature's perpetual power, of the cycle of all things - and of course, it's an excuse to dress up, party and embrace that darker side of ourselves.

As an author, I often find that my writing reflects this season. For years I have been quietly involved with the Horror writing scene, although I've never really considered myself a Horror writer, despite the fact that I have had several horror stories published and that many of my YA paranormal romances veer to the darker side.

This autumn season I am indulging in the world of Victorian London with my paranormal Dreadpunk serial, 'Beautiful Freaks', which I am only 2 episodes from concluding, after which I shall be finishing 'Devilry' the third book of the series 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles', and then hopefully NaNoWriMo will ensure that I complete 'The Crow Man' by first adult psychological horror which I have already spent two NaNoWriMos completing: this will be the year that it is finished LOL.

TELL ME WHY YOU LOVE AUTUMN / FALL For your chance to win a goodie pack. Just leave a comment in the box and I'll pick a random name from the witches hat in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, if you want to step into my autumn gothic indulgences and snuggle up with my imagination on your sofa, I have put my two darkest novels on 99p / 82p promotion for Kindle. You can find them at my Amazon Author Page.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Carlyle Labuschagne: Release News.

It is my great pleasure to inform you that Carlyle Labuschagne has a new release coming out this week, Dead of Night.
"Dont be crippled by fear, let love give you wings"
Carlyle Labuschagne

Coming soon
In a world where love is outlawed could Aecker and Opel 
survive the fatal penalties...

Carlyle is an South African award winning author, with a flair for mixing genres and adding loads of drama to every story she creates. For now she is happy to take over the world and convert non Sci-fi believers.

Her goal as an author is to touch people's lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within every outrageous world she writes about.

"I love to swim, fight for the trees, and am a food lover who is driven by my passion for life. I dream that one day my stories will change the lives of countless teenagers and have them obsess over the world literacy can offer them instead of worrying about fitting in. Never sacrifice who you are, its in the dark times that the light comes to life."

Carlyle used writing as a healing tool and that is why she started her very own writers support event - SAIR bookfestival.

 "To be a helping hand for those who strive to become full times writers, editors, bloggers, readers and cover artists - its a crazy world out there you dont have to go it alone!"

follow @CarlyleL for all the crazy updates on all things me.

Founder of 
SAIR Book Festival

Co Founder of Fire Quill Publishing.
Founder of Help build a library in South Africa. 


Monday, 31 August 2015

October Frights Blog Hop

I am excited to announce that I will participating in the October Frights Blog Hop, which now gives another reason for October being the most awesome month of the year!

Stay tuned for more info on this fun event.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Utopia 2 months on

This post is a week early, but as I am going on holiday next week, and I am really rubbish at scheduling posts, here goes.

So the effects of Utopia have calmed a little. Fellow Utopians are busying away with their WIPS and other cons, and all the other craziness of life that is the life of an author. However, what has happened out of that great explosion of socialisation is the cementing of some extraordinary friendships.

I have found a tribe, a sisterhood, and we speak most days and at least a couple of times a week via Facebook messaging, and we're getting brave enough to even attempt a proper video call -  I know, crazy social cats that we are.

This is what ultimately Utopia has given me - the feeling that I am not alone, and for someone who doesn't really mind going it alone, or at least that's what I have convinced myself over the years, the effect of friendship, understanding and shard vision has been quite transformatory. (Yep, making words up again)

It's this sense of tribe that has allowed me to embrace my fears and charge forward with Chapter.Con in a way that has made some crazy dream a few months ago into a serious reality. When I look at website, how full and rich the con promises to be, I am excited -- and I am proud of what I have built. However, it would not have been built without the love, belief, encouragement and spirit of my tribe.

My Tribe is AWESOME! Get used to that phrase because I am going to be using it a lot over the coming year. It was there willingness to reach out a hand and step up that has allowed Chapter.Con to take flight. They have promised to fly half way around the world to stand by my side, to share their knowledge, expertise, creativity and love with a UK book community.

And because of their faith and their willingness to tread this journey by my side, others have joined us. Seriously, you should check out the panel for Chapter.Con - it's mind blowing. And because of the panel, I have managed to entice a truly amazing Key Note speaker, who I can't wait to share with you at a later stage.

There's a Utopian core statement, 'Lift as You Climb' and I can not tell you how engraved this is in my heart. Creating Chapter.Con has been a real chance to payback to some people in the book world who have been there from the early days of my writing career. For example, I am so honoured to have Megan Mc Dade (From Reading Away The Days) to be our Official Chapter.Con Blog Co-ordinator and I know we are both extremely grateful to Jo Michaels who is acting as a Mentor and Guide (as well as one of my soul-sisters). Having Megan on board has allowed me to hand all of that side over to her and for a great blog team to be created. Utopia taught me to do that - to trust, to collaborate, to hand over to others. Something I've never really been very good at.

Then I get a reach out from the lovely Dena Ellis Oneal - a chance meeting at Utopia caused a spark of creativity. She wanted to know about Readers, and whether there was a special place for them at Chapter.Con - hell yeah! Without readers there are no authors (well not ones that eat) so between us we created the Chapter.Con Book Club, 'Reading My Way to Chapter.Con'. This is a brilliant idea on so many levels. You can find out more about it at the official website Book Club page (linked) or by visiting the Unofficial Facebook Page (linked)

Oh, yeah, about that! So because Megan and the blogging team, and Dena are amazing, they are establishing the joint fansite and book club group page for Chapter.Con so that the community can really start building.

So that's Chapter.Con and I guess you can tell from how much of the post it has taken up just how much life time it has taken up too.

However, other great things have been happening too. I have embarked on a currently secret project with two of the most phenomenally inspiring women I have ever met. It's a really exciting project and one which I am going to take immense pride and pleasure in sharing with you in a few months time when details have been secured. All I can really say is I AM EXCITED and INSPIRED!

Book Three of The Meadowsweet Chronicles is half written; progress has been a little slower than hoped, but I'm still perfectly on schedule according to the XCEL spreadsheet. I love spending time with my WIP - at the moment, with everything else going on, it's a perfect escape. Because it is Book Three, the characters pretty much write themselves; they are living real people who live and love and battle inside my head.

Planning out the next three books in the series has given me the confidence to just sit down and write without worrying - as a result, when I do get an hour or two, the word count jumps up. it is a direct result of listening to the UTOPIA panel on series, and the advice of Rachel Higginson and Bella Roccaforte that inspired me to take that goat by the throat and plot it all out. See, panels aren't just about ideas, they are about action.

However, due to the explosion that has been Chapter.Con, my plans to serialise 'Beautiful Freaks' are a little delayed (only by a week or so, but with my spreadsheet, that could be a problem.) I have a rescue plan in mind though.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Losing The Plot

As you know, I don't often write 'Teaching' posts or 'How To' posts as they are not something that sits easily with me. Yes, although theoretically I am more than qualified, both literally with bits of certificate, and figuratively through experience of being an author and English teacher to teach creative writing, I always such posts difficult to write - and maybe that is because I often find them difficult to read. I don't like being told how to do something; I never have - especially when it comes to expressing my own creativity.

But today, I'm not teaching you about plotting, I'm  sharing with you my experiences of it - and you're entirely free to think it over, and especially free to argue; although do it softly because I'm nice ;)

Over the years I have read literally hundreds of posts, articles, interview responses on the internet, and heard full heated debates on panels, and argued endlessly with students about the concept of planning and plotting versus pantsing (or in my students' case, the notion of divine intervention.)

So here's my standpoint and it's not straight forward. Personally, I believe good storytelling needs structure; good art needs composition - but paradoxically, great literature needs spontaneity, rule-breaking and an organic energy, just as art.

A portrait by Picasso is 'great'. A portrait by Winterhalter is 'good' - and good is... well, it's good. It means it is accomplished and technical and accessible. It is a pleasure to live with, it enriches, it entertains, it allows a fantasy to be realised and a romance of both place and idea to be woven in the viewer's mind - it is satisfying and consumable. And for me as a reader these are the primary functions of a book series regardless of genre nuances.
And it is because of this that when it comes to series, I believe planning is essential. 

I didn't start off with this standpoint. I hated the idea of planning and I was veiled in a romantic notion of creative genius, you know the kind where you sit in a Parisian garret, living of gruel and cheap red wine wringing out your soul onto the page  - but then I finished my first book and realised I wanted to write more.

When I started my first series, 'The Knight Trilogy' with the book 'The Forest of Adventures' I did not plan - not for it to even be a series; I was a creative believer. I believed I was writing something beautiful and true - and I really did, but now when I look back at that first book, it's a beautiful and true mess; yes it reads like a wild-flower meadow, and there is soul and gorgeousness in it, and there is a definite authenticity of voice that is my younger-self, which some might argue is exactly the kind of book they like to read. However, as the writer needing to write two more volumes that followed it, I didn't half leave me a lot of work to craft out a series from it.

I had slapped things in the first volume on the mere indulgence of my characters, or the way I was moved in a single moment - and as a result, I found that to sustain their worlds and relationships authentically, I had to plan the rest of their time with me; it was either that or we were all going to end up losing the plot, quite literally. I would have had characters becoming increasingly erratic in their behaviours to one another and crazy unbelievable events would have to happen to bring them all back together. I was fortunate that with it being a contemporary Arthurian series, there is a strong sense of magic-realism in the series so it was more forgiving than it might have been, but there were regrets; small things which a reader would probably never pick up on. Certain representations of character or actions that I wish they had not done - but I guess in that way, it reflects real life.

Now, I am half way through Book Three of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' a book of modern witchcraft, ancient English Folklore and The American Gothic. It's planned to be a seven book series. It started out with that structure in mind. And although book one was written with basic section by section planning as the worlds and characters revealed themselves to me, I am currently sat with a folder by my side, which contains the detailed outlines, chapter by chapter of the next four books. I had intended on planning them all out - but I can't quite let go of the ideas of my characters having their own input and voice. I know that despite the detailed planning, there will be changes - because that's allowed. By the time I reach book five, I am sure that most of that plan will be defunct, but it will mean that I can write on in confidence because everything else is secure and structured. Who knows, book seven might end up being freestyle, because by that point - I can.

The thing is, some people get their knickers in a twist when it comes to the notion of planning because they think that once a plan has been written, then it has to be stuck too, which is quite frankly, absurd. In reality, does a plan ever really go .... well, to plan?

Planning (and planning in detail) allows you to go off piste in confidence because you know, with certainty that you're going to get to the bottom of that mountain in one piece. Planning is thinking. Thinking is GOOD.

So what's your thoughts? Are you a planner or a pantser?

BTW - if you fancy reading my beautiful flower meadow of a book, 'The Forest of Adventures' you can download a free copy using the coupon code in the side bar. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Chapter.Con 2017 London

CHAPTER.CON 2017 is happening and now's your chance to start being a part of it.

As you have read in my previous posts, my trip to the Utopia Author and Reader convention, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA in June of this year has had a profound effect on me. It has also inspired me to be brave and fearless enough to bring the format over to the UK, to create a convention that has a very special vision. That convention is Chapter.Con and it's starting to become real.

Today marks one of the very first steps towards building that community; it is the day that I have officially started fundraising in order to turn this dream into a reality. After speaking with several other convention founders, I have learned that running a convention is an expensive and most likely profitless endeavour -- but that doesn't matter. This isn't about making money, it's about building something significant and special, about creating a 'home' and 'family' for authors of YA and NA fiction in the UK, it's about supporting my local home community and creating a vehicle for change and growth.

Here is the Chapter.con Manifesto

Chapter.Con 2017

A UK Author, Blogger and Reader convention designed to celebrate Young Adult and New Adult stories of all genres from the indie publishing, small press  & hybrid community.


Whether you are a best-selling established author, an aspiring author, a blogger, a reader, a publisher or a book seller, I would like to invite you to the very first Chapter Con; one of the U.K's very first YA and NA book conventions especially designed to connect, educate and inspire women in the book world.

With a series of educational panels of experienced individuals, and inspirational key note speakers, Chapter Con is far more than a traditional literary festival, it's home, family and mentorship.

Chapter Con is open to Indie published, Hybrid published and Traditionally published authors of all ages and stages of their individual journey.

Although primarily a book conference designed for women authors, one of the primary beliefs of Chapter Con is inclusivity;  of celebrating diversity and individuality, meaning male authors of Young Adult and New Adult are welcome to attend.

Chapter.Con  2017 is the first of its kind in the UK. An innovative, celebratory Author, Blogger and Reader con for YA and NA (Please note that Chapter.Con is a no erotica con)

As a residential conference, it offers Authors, Bloggers, Readers and other Book Creatives to foster a strong sense of community and belonging. It's a con that will promote positive messages of collaboration, skill sharing and empowerment.

It is also the chance to have a LOT of fun and make amazing friends.

The proposed plan is:
Thursday p.m - welcome key note and social evening
Friday  a.m - exhibition rooms, school visits and panels.
Friday p.m - exhibition rooms and panels
Saturday - key note. Networking Breakfast. Public book signing event 10-4
Saturday evening - Awards Ceremony & Party
Sundy morning - key note, resolutions and farewells.

In 2015 I attended UtopYA in Nashville, Tennessee, USA; a conference founded by the incredibly inspirational Janet Wallace and her dedicated team.

Having been in the indie publishing scene for over 5 years as a UK author, I had found that the UK was a very different indie scene to what was happening in the USA. Social media taught me that my fellow USA indies were meeting up regularly, sharing, exhibiting, building community, collaborating and cheer-leading each other.  The one event that kept coming up was UtopYA.

Sick of feeling isolated and left out, I made the bold decision to head out and join them. (A fear of flying and a transatlantic journey would be worth it) What I experienced at UtopYA literally changed my life. I found the most incredible acceptance, friendship, fellowship, knowledge, and belief.

I learned more in those 4 days with the incredible UtopYA family about publishing, marketing, writing, authoring, blogging, reviewing  ... the list is endless, than I had in the  5 years going it alone.

I knew I had to bring this experience home to the UK. I knew I needed to build this kind of supportive, friendly, educational and inspirational community here.

When I spoke to many of my UtopYA American writer friends about this idea, they were totally behind it. Many vowing that if I got this project off the ground, they would come.  And trust me, these guys KNOW what they are talking about. These guys know the mysteries of Amazon algorithm, formatting, marketing, building readership, PR.....

BUT a conference like this costs  - A LOT

For this to work, it needs...
to be at least 2 days and 3 nights long meaning big location, hire expenses, especially as it is London pricing.

It needs a marketing campaign that not only draws in local people but people on a national scale. This kind of event is new to people and they need introducing to the idea.

It needs to subsidise hospitality so that we can attract the very best in the business from a global platform, which means flights and rooms.

It needs social occasions, such as an awards ceremony with hospitality.

It needs inclusivity, meaning we can supply grants to authors to help them attend.

It needs budgets for all the little things that add up, badges, tote bags, print material, events planning, tech teams, breakfasts and tea, cleaning crew.

Having spoken to several people who have gone on to run highly successful conventions, I am under no delusion that this is ever going to ever be a profitable exercise; the money (if any) that is made gets ploughed back into the following years, making it even better.

Authors, especially those in the indie world, really, really appreciate every penny they make on their books - it's a tough world and I don't want to gamble with their money in the early stages of this project. There have been too many events that have taken ticket money and then for many reasons flopped and authors have been left out of pocket.

£20,000 will NOT cover the whole costs of the event but it will allow me to pay the deposits for the hotel conferencing, initial marketing and promotional material. It will also allow me to start approaching Key Note speakers and get the whole ball rolling.

What about corporate sponsorship?
One day, I am hopeful that we will have on board an incredible group of corporate sponsors; we have a list we would like to approach, but we need to give those guys something tangible to invest in.

Although absolutely, with no doubt, I know Chapter.Con is going to be amazing and significant with the right funding, my word is not enough. We need to get Chapter.Con 2017 done and photographed, we need to sew the seeds of an exciting community they want to be part of.

I am working with a branding expert to put together an initial sponsorship pitch and hopefully when they see the energy behind this campaign and this idea becoming a reality, they will take a chance on us.

My name is Katie M John and I am the author of the UK Amazon bestselling series, 'The Knight Trilogy' and 'The Meadowsweet Series as well as several stand alone works and published short stories and poetry. You can find out more at

5 years ago I published my first book. Last year I quit the day job (15 years of English teaching) to concentrate on the writing world.

I am also the fouder of the small boutique indie press, 'Little Bird Publishing House' which works with authors in a non-exploitative way. Little Bird is about building an author family.

I am a mummy, wife, author, blogger, publisher, tutor, and now it would seem, a convention founder.

Help me to build something beautiful.

Than you for your time, your generosity and your support. Every single penny helps.

WHAT YOU GET IN RETURN (This will be added too in the coming months as more authors get on board)
£5 A personalised thank you postcard and free download of 'The Forest of Adventures' by Katie M John

£10 A personalised thank you postcard and free download of 'The Forest of Adventures' and 'Witchcraft'

£20 A personalised thank you postcard and free download of 'The Forest of Adventures' and 'Witchcraft', A Chapter.Con limited edition badge

£50  Friday afternoon tea with a panel of authors, 5 x free eBook downloads (TBC)

£100 Friday Lunch with a panel of authors from the convention, 5 x free eBook downloads (TBC)

£250 Free VIP upgrade to the conference. Friday Lunch, Chapter.Con 2017 t-shirt, sparkly lanyard for convention tag. Signed paperback edition (TBC)

£500 Free VIP upgrade to conference. Friday Lunch, Chapter.Con 2017 t-shirt, sparkly lanyard for convention tag, Signed edition of a series (TBC)

£1000 - Corporate Sponsorship - inclusion of logo on events displays, banners, websites. Ability to distribute products through the conference  gift bags. A free 1/2 size exhibition stand.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Cover Reveal. The Shine by Helen Whapshott

Hi, folks,

Today is the day that I get to share with you the cover for Helen Whapshott's new book, which comes out on August 1st.
TADA! Here is the beautiful cover.

It's the second book in the series and it's a serious emotional roller-coaster. The book called 'The Shine' deals with some more serious issues that affect some children in the real world. Dealt with sensitively and with a great deal of hope, 'The Shine' explores what it's like for school children to deal with the knowledge there friend is being hurt by the very people that should be protecting them from the world's cruelty; their parents.

The characters of Scott, Daisy and Megan are totally charming and before you know it, it's easy to find yourself totally lost in their story. The Glow series is a really beautiful series and a great resource to approach some of the more delicate issues children face in today's modern world.

In order to celebrate the release of Book 2, Little Bird have revamped the look of Book 1 and have put in it on $0.99 / £0.99 eBook download, so be sure to grab your copy before the release of book 2 on August 1st 2015.

Buy copies of Book 1 'The Glow'

PRE-ORDER your copy of Book 2 'The Shine'

In order to say thank you for stopping by and taking an interest in Helen and her books, she has given me a paperback edition of 'The Glow' to giveaway to ONE random selecting person from those who comment below. All you've got to do is leave a comment in the box. One lucky winner will be selected within the month and you'll be notified by Twitter or Facebook so please leave your handles.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Get your scares on!

Some of you who check in with this blog regularly will know that as well as doing fairies, I also do scaries. I have always loved the horror genre, ever since those first illicit readings of Point Horror under my duvet as a young teenager.

Horror is my thing - I mean, really my thing, which is strange because I am really rather a sensitive soul and to the outside world, there would never be a suspicion as to the darkness that lies deep within my heart; metaphorical of course.

As part of my writing journey, I have written several short horror stories, which have been published in numerous anthologies.

My horror writing started with a submission to the sadly now defunct Indie Horror e-zine and writer's forum, with a story called The Venus Club. This little story was my first real stab at writing a form I love and revere. (I still argue that it's the hardest genre to write well.) To my surprise, it went on to win their Spring Horror Story competition, and that gave me the inspiration and motivation to write and submit more of my short stories.

The Venus Club was also in a way the very first origins of my Young Adult stand alone novel, 'Beautiful Freaks' and so it maintains a very special place in my heart.

Anthology writing became a bit of a 'thing' for me for a couple of years. It was nice to just write and hand over my stories without having to worry about all the final flight-checks and publishing. At around that time I met Jeff Bennington online and we established an online friendship which I still hold dear. He was writing phenomenal indie published works in the horror genre, and was a key part of a movement towards indie writing being legitimised and pushed to the highest quality. I read several of his books and was blown away. He began a series of anthologies called 'Creepy' and he kindly accepted a couple of my stories for submission. 'The Haunting of Heathmoore House' and 'The Wishing Well Witch'.

Also at around that time, I discovered a great online e-zine called 'Sirens Call' run by the wonderful Nina D'Arcangela and her team. I submitted a couple of stories prompted by their edition of Women's Horror Month. They too have been kind enough to feature me several times over the years.

As part of my growing role at Little Bird Publishing, I took on the project of Dark Heart and Night Shade, an anthology project, which was designed, not to make money (we'd happily give away copies to anybody that wanted them) but to create a collective of authors who would collaborate on a collection of stories. The idea was to showcase and give authors a 'validated' publication which they could reference as part of their publication history.

I loved working on Dark Heart and Night Shade, and the three books that came out of that project are really special; as well as being of an amazing quality. However, creating an anthology is an incredible drain on your own personal creativity reserves. Although we were getting increasing numbers of submissions (so many that the read-through time alone started to drift into months)  the amount of editing and liaison required to work with ten different authors, all with their own approaches, unique styles and expectations became increasingly unsustainable - especially when nobody was making any money.

However, Dark Heart and Night Shade continues to be a project on hold rather than a project consigned to the trash bin, and I am quite certain that there will be a time in the near future when it is right to resurrect it. You can find out more about it at the Dark Heart & Night Shade blog HERE

In the meantime, Night Shade Volume 1 is on FREE download all this weekend and it's a really great chance to embrace some new writing and get to know some new authors. Here are the links to the Amazon promotion, so please fell free to splash them around all over your social media platforms.

There are stories and poems included from the following authors, by Katie M. John (Author),  Edward Drake (Author),  Red Tash (Author), Axel Howerton (Author), Jayd Green (Author),  Petra Pavlikova (Author),  Laurie Lyons (Author), Katarina Emg√•rd (Author), Sergio Palumbo (Author)