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Monday, 5 January 2015

King For A Year: The Shining, reviewed by Anthony Cowin

King For A Year: The Shining, reviewed by Anthony Cowin: The Bad Thing In Room 217: Stephen King’s The Shining “Wendy is an extraordinary woman.” “And your son is also extraordinary?” That t...

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Horror News.

Well it's been a long lonely time since I've been here. I've been riding a locomotive coupled with carriages of a busy life and actually being productive. So much so that I've had a good flow of publications in the past couple of months.

First to report on is a short story called 'The Television Made Me Do It' published in Dark Eclipse volume 34. The monthly e-mag from Dark Moon Books. With so many news stories pointing fingers at television and video games to conveniently explain away violence I wondered what if it was real. What if televisions did start telling people to go out an kill? I had so much fun writing the story, which in turn raised many questions, that I may revisit the theme in a longer format later on.

Next up I had the lovely surprise at being announced as the winner of the Summer Flash contest from Massacre Magazine. My story 'Black is the Brightest Colour' took top spot. As well as a monetary prize the story is also printed as the first feature in the print and e-mag of Massacre Magazine Issue #3. You can also read my winning story online here- Black is the Brightest Colour.

The next piece of news is difficult to report on at the moment as I don't have a release date. But it's a big one. My first single author published work will be available soon. It's a chapbook from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing's One Night Stand series. It's called The Brittle Birds. It's a story that mixes many forms of folklore and myth from the Huxwhukw cannibal birds of native Canada to Norse trolls, right through to western superstitions and ghosts. It's essentially the story of the last day of a man that lived a life plagued with monsters both internally and externally.

I'll post updates and buying links when I'm given a release date by the publisher. As always keep up with my horror fiction reviews at The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog here- Anthony Cowin Horror Reviews.

Until next time, take care and keep scared.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Writing on the Brain.

I'm always intrigued about psychology behind the practice and communication of writing. How does our brain process the written word? How do we translate that into thoughts and ideas? Here's a smart infographic that goes a small way toward answering some of those questions.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Unquiet House by Alison Littlewood

Alison Littlewood has taken a risk in using a type of fractured tandem structure for her haunted house story. Supernatural tales are usually best left to a straightforward narrative that drives the reader along. But this isn’t a normal ghost story. This is a story of how ghosts are created and more importantly how they change the living world around them. The author took a risk and it paid off in spades.

The novel starts in present day. Nothing too unfamiliar here. A large country place called Mire House left in a will to Emma, a protagonist battling her own internal ghosts, a mystery surround the house and Charlie an uninvited relative from her childhood. While this territory may be familiar what follows is anything but.

The present is used like a framing device for two strands set in the past. The writing in the first part is haunting and beautifully written. It’s the kind of opening to a book that power companies love, as it’ll keep bedroom lights on all night across the country. Spectral visions, mysterious relatives showing up unannounced and terrifying events build to a horrifying crescendo. Then we’re swiftly transported back to the 1970s and meet a group of young boys daring each other to enter Mire House.

This is where we follow the path of the dark woman who haunts the house and the adjoining cemetery. Alison Littlewood never allows you enjoy the exploits of these young scamps for too long without reminding you of the ghosts that lurk and the dangers they pose.

Read the full review here- The Unquiet House by Alison Littlewood

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Whitstable by Stephen Volk

This understanding and the empathy it evokes in Cushing is the catalyst for the dark thriller that follows. Volk places enough doubt in the reader’s mind to empathise with Cushing while worrying he may be making a huge and damaging mistake. This tension suffuses each page with a nervous energy in the first half of the book.

This spiraling of uncertainty locked together with threats and lies had me turning the pages with real enthusiasm and anticipation

Friday, 3 January 2014

Children of the Night

Here's a short and spooky horror theme I composed. It's not for anything in particular but to experiment with atmospheric horror music. Imagine a camera swooping over dark farmlands as the music plays. Car headlights dip and shine through twisting country roads in the distance. As the camera pulls up on a large house with dark windows the car also pulls into the driveway. As the headlights are switched off and the family step from the car we see a swing and a roundabout moving with no children nearby.

These are the Children of the Night.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Crying Boy

My short story, The Crying Boy, is featured in the Thrills, Kills 'n' Chaos site as part of their Halloween special. I'm overjoyed to have landed the actual Halloween night spot and than David Barber for showing faith in the story.

It's based on the legend of the Crying Boy painting. We had this picture hanging above our fireplace as a child and it always scared me. Tony Lovell recently reminded me of a long forgotten curse involving the painting involving house fires.

I took that inspiration and wondered what would happen if a fireman was called to his own home where his wife had hung the picture. The Crying Boy is the story that came from that germ. I hope you enjoy reading it. Any feedback, comments, shares or likes would be much appreciated.

Thank you, Anthony.

The Crying Boy

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Moribund Tales by Erik Hofstatter

Moribund Tales is a mix of campfire Gothic and rewritten urban legends.

"Erik Hofstatter’s Moribund Tales is a short anthology of very short tales written in a Poe influenced Gothic style. This toe dipping offers the right amount of time inside the warm treacle of words. Any longer gulping below the surface may leave some readers feeling breathless."

"So it was a wise choice between Hofstatter and his editor Lisa Knight to make these stories snapshots rather than epics. Because it works very much in the author’s favour."

Full review at The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lurker by Gary Fry

I reviewed Gary Fry's upcoming cosmic horror novella from Dark Fuse for The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog.

Here's the opening of the review.

'Gary Fry treads similar territory in Lurker that he visited in his fantastic Novel ‘The Conjuring House’ also published by Dark Fuse. A move to the Moors, an imbalanced relationship and a missing child. Only this time it’s a miscarriage. This novella also journeys into the realm of cosmic horror, though with its feet firmly planted down to earth.

The author tricks you into believing you’re simply following a plot, stitching together clues and trying to understand the importance of the backstory. What he’s really doing is reaching into your mind with tentacles of fear that wriggle and scratch when you turn out the lights. Fry has the ability to set ancient monsters abroad in your imagination with terrifying precision.'

The review continues atLurker by Gary Fry- Review.

Please pop along and have a read. You'll also find a link to receive the book with a 33% discount link. So well worth taking a look.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Falling Over by James Everington

I have a new review up at The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog for James Everington's fine collection of weird tales.

There are eight stories and two flashes pieces, all written with great style and an expansive imagination.

‘The Time of Their Lives’. An almost magical and occultist take on death and old age. It’s a story filled with childhood innocence that helps the reader peek through gaps of light as the author tries to shut the doors in our face. Eventually the doors are swung open and what we find is poetic and sad. 

Why not check out the full review by clicking the link below.

Review- Falling Over by James Everington.

Monday, 2 September 2013


I recently had a chat with the star of Jug Face, Lauren Ashley Carter. I'm sure her name and face will be familiar with horror fans due to her brilliant performances in The Woman and Jug Face. Lauren gave some fascinating answers and had wonderful insights into horror films and the genre in general. Read the full interview here-

"In horror, the gift is sharing the fear. We’ve all seen some horror films, or thrillers for that matter, where the protagonist seems only mildly annoyed at the masked man following her, so why should we be afraid if she isn't? One of my favorite moments in sharing the fear is Mia Farrow at the end of Rosemary’s Baby. That look on her face when she sees her child affirms every horrible image that we've been conjuring up during the film. And it’s unforgettable."

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Above the City. Sci-fi Theme Music.

I wrote this minute long piece to attempt constructing a science fiction theme that may later develop into a longer work. This is a thumbnail of the bigger picture.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Make Your Own House of Horror.

Have you ever been sitting there alone at night worried that all the ghosts and killers are someplace else having a good time? Yeah me too. I thought it would be so much easier if I could have my own haunted house. But as I live in a small place I need small houses. Thankfully I discovered a site that can help me and you.

What's that you hear from the window? Is that a silhouette of your mother calling? It can be now with a free project to build your own Bates House. You'll have to find a mini mummified mother to pop in there yourself however. Then pop over to Haunted Dimensions and check out there fantastic projects.

Click the photo to find the Bates House.

Just click the link and follow the instructions. What's that you say, you don't like serial killers for breakfast you prefer toast? Oh you prefer a ghost. Well if demonic possession is your thing then why not try the The Amityville House? Don't worry about repossession as this is free, no mortgage is needed. Possession may be a problem though.

Click the photo to find The Amityville House.

There's plenty more ghoulish projects on the site. If you like it why not donate a little too. Just never donate your soul.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Promise Me: Tara Fox Hall Talks Vampires, Books and Cat Beds.

Gone Dark is delighted to have Tara Fox Hall over to discuss her new book, Taken for His Own, book #4 in her paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara Fox Hall is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

GD: Hi Tara. I guess the first question our readers would like to know is what drew you to vampire stories?

TFH: Hi. I’ve loved vampires since I saw Frank Langella in the first “hot vampire” version of Dracula years ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. But I wanted more than the evil monster chasing young virgins; more than the sweet, misunderstood handsome fanged stranger that becomes the perfect mate for the woman who captures his heart after so many lone centuries. I wanted a vampire so well-crafted in detail that I could believe he was real. I wanted something different to happen in the story, other than girl becomes vampire, or vampire becomes dust. I wanted passion, tragedy, romance, suspense, action, and the haunting sweetness of poetry and song floating on a soft night breeze. So I penned my own vampires.

GD: Could you tell me about your latest book?

TFH: My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth instalment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire. When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you've got a powder keg primed to explode.

GD: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

TFH: That it’s never too late to take control of your destiny…and that you are the only one that really ever can. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react to events. And that it’s important to always try to do the right thing…but that isn't always possible.

GD: The big question. After this book, what is next?

TFH: There will be more books in this series. Two more will this year, Immortal Confessions and Her Secret, with more in 2014 and 2015, until the series is done. The next instalment in the Lash Series, Revenge, will be out this fall, and hopefully my second anthology of short suspense/horror stories will also be published. There's also the first Promise Me anthology and a Latham’s Landing anthology this fall. A new Lash short story,Spiritwalker”, will début in the Shifters charity anthology from Hazardous Press, and I also have a short story called “The Lie” in the anthology Brief Grislys, both due out in a month or less. I'm also working on a sequel to my transgender short Grow a Pair, and another compilation of BDSM stories for the late summer/fall.

GD: Where can our readers keep up to date with your work?

TFH: I constantly update all projects on my website here- 


GD: Thank you Tara. Before you go could you give our readers have a taste of the new book in the Promise Me series, Taken for His Own, please?

 Taken for His Own excerpt:

“What about what you did to me?” I whispered, gazing at him and biting my lip. 
“That wasn’t a whim,” Devlin said, dropping his eyes. “That was my bad judgment. Sadly, it wasn’t the worst mistake I’ve made in my life.” 
“What was?” 
Devlin didn’t answer. I reached out and took his cool hand in mine. 
“When you lead others you must do whatever you have to in order to save your people,” he said with a sigh. “Compromising values should matter less than saving lives.” 
“I agree with you,” I said. “If you rule others, you have a responsibility to them above the responsibility to yourself. But even then, I think your family should come first.” 
“They should,” Devlin said in a cracked voice. He swallowed hard. “But the past can’t be undone.” 
I squeezed his hand. “What happened to Danial wasn’t your fault.” 
“Yes, it was,” he said softly. 
“How is it your fault?” I said curiously, easing closer to him. 
“Because I should have known what the thing was when it attacked. I didn’t know anything back then, except strategy and tactics. I was too concerned about rising through the ranks as fast as possible, so I could leave my family behind and become someone important.” 
“What did you want to be?” 
“A commander of men, either soldiers or police.” 
I was surprised that Devlin would want to uphold the law or spend his life guarding others. Yet it made sense. When he’d taken me from my house years ago, he’d insisted on taking me to Danial, because I wore the choker. He was here putting himself in danger now to keep me safe. 
“I knew something had attacked a few people on that road in that last month,” he continued. “I knew that there was a chance we might be attacked transporting the prisoner. But the road was the quickest way to our destination. I’d been assured that if I made the journey in good time, I’d get the promotion I wanted, and Danial would get my old position.” 
“You aren't at fault for what you did. It wasn't for an evil reason.” 
“Yes, I am,” he said despondently. “It was my greed and pride that doomed us.” 
Carefully, I reached for Devlin and put my arms around him. He tensed at my touch, then relaxed. 
“You did the best you could. You aren't damned.” 
“Yes, I am. You have no idea what I’ve done.” 
I shifted uneasily. 
“And I wouldn’t want you to,” Devlin added, his arms snaking around me loosely. “My ends have always justified the means, no matter what they were. I’ve done great evil in the hope of averting worse evil. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. Still, it’s likely that given the chance to do my life over, I’d do the same things, make the same choices. I’d find myself here, at this same point in time, a fallen king.” 
“In case you’re wondering,” I said deliberately. “I’m waiting for you to add into your speech somewhere that you regret everything you did to me while you were king…um, ruler.” 
“I regret hurting you,” Devlin said quickly. “Yet I don’t regret coming for you that night or taking you to Danial.” He looked up at me. “You might not have gone back to Danial after Theo went missing, if I hadn't. Theoron might not be here. I can’t regret any action of mine that led to him being born.” 
I didn’t reply, considering his words. 
Devlin laid his head against my chest, and his arms tightened on me slightly. We lay there like that for a few moments, not speaking, then I slipped into sleep. 
I woke sometime later when Devlin stirred. According to the bedside clock, it was almost dusk. 
“I have only one regret,” Devlin said finally, propping himself up on his elbow, his expression intent. 
“What’s that?” I said, covering my yawn with my hand. 
“That it wasn't me you found in your quarry that night,” Devlin said, kissing the back of my hand with cool lips. His golden eyes locked on mine, transfixing me, as he drew my hand away from my face. 

He was going to kiss me. My lips parted as my breath caught in my throat.


Book Title: Taken for His Own (Promise Me Series #4) – Vampire romance
Format: print and e-book
Pages: 247
Date Released: late April 2013

Blurb: After learning Theo is alive, Sar immediately embarks on a mission to find him. Reunited, the lovers return to New York; Danial, Terian and Theo uneasily combining forces to protect Sar from Al’s assassins still seeking her. But when Sar is taken prisoner in an all-out attack, only one man can save her: her old adversary, Devlin.

Buy Links:
Amazon UK:
Melange/lulu link for Print, PDF and HTML copies:
All Romance E-books:
Barnes and