Thursday, 28 January 2016

They Walk at Twilight by Mary Williams

Mary Williams was Cornwall's leading ghost writer who wrote 17 volumes of superb ghost stories which are mostly set in Cornwall. She remains as mysterious as her stories. There is very little information about her despite her incredibly sucessful writing career which also includes novels such as the Dark God. It is such a shame that she is not more well known.What is clear is that writing was her passion in life, she passed away at the grand age of 97  in 2000 and was apparently working on a new collection of ghostly tales.

Her tales are dark yet cheery and full of charm. This collection, They Walk at Twilight was first published in 1977. It's deeply atmospheric with dark undertones reminscent of a Daphne Du Maurier novel. Mary Williams is a master with invoking dark and foreboding atmosphere in which anything seems possible. Most of her tales are set in Cornwall where she draws upon it's ancient mysteries and celtic magic for crafting her wonderful evocative stories.

They Walk at Twilight

"It was only at twilight that the house came least for me, although I'm sure my parents had no idea what went on upstairs."

Jessica and her parents have moved to a lonely house, Rozzan, on  the Cornish Moors after her father, a University professor takes retirement with the aim to write a book on the moor's local flora and fauna. It all seems so idyllic the house is large and there's even a servant. But Jessica knows there's something wrong with Rozzan and wants to leave. It's no place for a young girl like her. She's just so bored and would do anything to be free and have fun.

The Wish

"She was a strange looking child; small, thin, not strictly speaking beautiful, but magnetic with her tumbled hair, so fair it was almost white, elfin gestures, and pointed features with those large, cold, very clear grey eyes."

Whilst on holiday in Cornwall with his family Alex meets a young girl called Emma. She seems more fey than human and despite only being a child she posesses a deep knowledge of unfathomable things. Alex strikes a deal with her, he'll be her slave forever if she can make it rain which she does. Will Alex be able to tame the wild girl or will he be prey to her whims and fancies forevermore?

Mutton and Red Plush

"I was standing in the middle of a cold road, and I hadn't a clue how I'd got there. My mind was blank, but at the back, somewhere, beyond the recess of memory, was an opression and darkness filled with creeping terror that lingered heavily in the green-grey light of an early dawn."

Charlie Noakes comes to in the middle of a lonely desolate moor. He is in dire need of shelter warmth and food. He comes across a lonely towering hotel in the middle of nowhere. The place is terrifying, a place he vaguely remembers from his youth. But there is nowhere else to go if he is to survive.

Earth Bound

"I wanted to get away. Death itself seemed to stalk the garden, wafting the undergrowth and stagnant damp bushes, lifting the dead leaves like shrouds from their decayed corpses, revealing to my disordered fancy the skulls and bones of countless entities which had once lived and breathed."

Good friends Hugh and Dick have recently graduated from university and decide to take a walking holiday of the West Country. Hugh brings Dick to an old out of the way Victorian house just outside the village of Cottingley to meet the woman of his dreams, Shirley. But she comes with a twin Lucy who is a force of nature, the darkness to Lucy's light. She exerts a strange hold over her gentle twin, will she ever release her to Hugh.


"I did my best to shake off a weird feeling of bewilderment which was intensified by the thin shivering mist already subduing the glitter of sun."

A writer takes a vacation in Cornwall to soak up inspiration for a new book. There she encounters a trio of women who sit in huddled conversation and take off when she approaches. But who are these strange women and what is it that they talk of?

On Haunted Feet

"I have to tell this tale, because of course I could not write. But in the soughing of the wind's cry sometimes through autumn trees, or in buttercup meadows at the twilight hour...maybe the echo of our soundless feet may be heard throught the grass... and a momentary picture ressrrected on the ether. For this is a haunted place. Haunted not by greed or revenge, but by the trespasser into time"

Frances Abigail Treffick the fourteen year old daughter of Sir Frank and Lady Treffick of Linmere Manor becomes fixated with visiting the ruins of an ancient monastery. It is her last summer before she attends boarding school but she is reluctant to leave it behind and say goodbye to her precious doll Abby who exerts strange and powerful hold over her.

The Grey Ones

"Grawk! Even at the start of a brief late summer holiday I didn't like the sound or the look of it. It appeared, and felt, a 'dead' kind of place; no wind stirred the heat-haze when we arrived."

Phil Carnberry, Professor of History and Geology has different ideas on the origin of mankind and along with his friend he visits the ancient village of Grawk in Cornwall. The villagers are just as inhospitable as their surroundings but the men refuse to leave despite warnings. Phil wants to unover the secrets of Grawk but it wants to be left alone.

Whistling Annie

"There was one of them big shining moons in the sky most of the time, with only whiskers of cloud blown over its face t'wards morning. Then the winds began to shiver properly through the trees and my old bones shook with laughter."

Annie and her beloved husband Hubert have unwelcome visitors in their home but she has a plan to get rid of them once and for all.


"She started to tremble, as the ground appeared to sway beneath her feet and lurch upwards...towards her. She looked round, shocked. She shouldn't be here...she'd come to the wrong place."

Memories can be happy but some can be so painful that they are repressed into oblivion  but they have a habit of coming back with such force they can transport you through time.

Humpty Dumpty

"...she was confronted by the 'thing'...the figure of an immensely tall woman dressed in black, staring at her malignantly by a slab of  dark marble; one hand pointed downwards to the gleaming surface."

Caroline, after being plagued with a horrific childhood nightmare finally finds happiness when she meets her husband, a man twenty years her senior. She moves to Cornwall with high hopes to start her married life. But upon arriving there all is not as it seems and she questions how well she really knows her new husband

The Experiment

"The pause that followed was prolonged, holding, however, an intensity that was somehow electric...highly charged with unspoken awareness of things beyond my grasp which I found distinctly disturbing."

Charles Hallett encounters a strange hermit whilst out walking in the rough and rugged Welsh mountain. He presents Charles with an interesting proposition, one that he can't turn down.


"It's as if we were supposed to meet, although of course I  haven't the slightest interest in him. Not as a person, just as a symbol. He's an omen you see. A omen of 'luck'... or 'take care.'

Polly Brown never thought she would find love but then through a chance encounter she meets a mysterious stranger who saves her life. However quickly he dissapears only to return on numerous occasions she's desperate to meet him and when he turns up on her holiday in Eastbourne it appeers to be destiny taking a good turn.

Granite Bones

"She just liked to wander about on the fringe of things, looking in briefly on our rather 'adolescent ' bottle parties, then taking herself off subtly when no one was noticing, leaving a peculiar vacuum behind."

In Port Garren, Cornwall a group of  artists forge friendships. They live a life free of restrictions away from the rat race. At the centre of their friendship group is Gerda a beautiful but unobtainable woman who drives men to despair with lust and longing. Some believe she has a secret lover who she keeps out of sight.

The Trespasser

" 'Fairy child,' he'd called me the first time...'That's what you are, isn't it?...A nympth, a changeling. O.K.sweetheart. But you wait, my love. One day it will be different.'
'No,' I'd whisper, 'Never, never. I won't change.' "

A woman after a brief stay in hospitable is desperate to get back to her doting husband Rupert who simply can not live without her.


"CRAKKA. It sounded quaint somehow, out of the norm; and as events were to prove this was putting it lightly."

Roger Herrick stumbles across a strange village whilst exploring on his bike in deep Cornwall. The inhabitants there lead a very different life under the influence of strange forces.


"Maybe you think of the sea as most landlubbers do and city folk do...merely compelling and unpredictable; calm and dream-like one day. wild and surhing the next; an elemental force to stir the imagination.... Well that's I thought myself, once. Until that evening longer ago when I care to remember; when I saw."

A naturalist travels to Cornwall to discover more abot the local flora and fauna with a hope of being about to write a book about his discoveries but what he discovers is dark and foreboding, the stuff of nightmares.


"The sky seemed to darken subtly, hovering over the dejected hall and soggy earth, shrouding the landscape covetously, as though the area sensed our presence with elemental resentment."

Living in the shadow of an abandoned house, Wildmarsh, Martha develops a deep and lasting obsession with the strange and remote place. Often she takes secret visits there her friend urges her to stop going before it is too late.

A Real Trouper

"For a moment the queer feeling of unreality returned to him. Her large form seemed to fade and quiver, receding temporarily into the general glitter of gathering heat haze, sunlight and sea."

Jim Parker  an esteemed journalist take a much needed break at the advice of his editor to sunny Cornwall. But all he can think about is landing the story of his career, it all seems so hopeless until he is reunited with a face from the past.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Do Chapters Have To Be The Exact Same Length?

I'm having a problem with the writing of a new novel and I'm not sure if it's serious. Some  of my chapters are really short and some are really long.When I say short, some are just a few pages, a thousand words, whilst the longer ones are endless pages with thousands upon thousands of words within them.

It's early days yet but I find it really annoying that they're not all the same length.I feel like they should all be the same uniform length.  Does anyone else have this problem?

So that I reach the required word count of 80-000 which turns my manuscript from a flimsy novella to a weighty novel. I've divided the above number by the number of chapters my novel will have to get an ideal of the ideal chapter length. I get really stressed out if a chapter does not reach this length as it's the bare minimum needed to qualify it as a novel. Which gets me thinking.

Do  chapters need to be the same length in a book?

Is it ok to have some really short chapters mixed in with longer ones?

Is there an ideal chapter length?

So after much reserach curtsey of the web, the good news is that no, chapters do not need to be the same length. When writing a novel it's a good idea to think of your chapters as mini stories within your novel that link together to form one big story. Some of these mini stories will be bigger than others.

So in that respect some chapters may be short, whilst others may be a lot longer especially if they are more complex.

It may be a good idea to have a few short chapters as well as longer ones which will help with the pace of the story.

But is there an ideal chapter length?

The short answer is no. It really depends on the type of novel you are writing. If your wor is a fast paced action thriller then short snappy chapters will keep those pages turning as fast as they can be read. Longer chapters will suit best a novel that may have a slow build up or a lot of depth.

So in short let your characters and plot dictate your chapters and not your word count.

The Siren's Call Issue 24 # Lost Souls

The Siren's Call is a free monthly ezine published by Siren's Call Publications. It is  available from their website -

This  latest issue is themed with the theme of Lost Souls. The wonderful short stories inside deal with the eternal questions of, what happens when we die? Where do we go? Is there life after death? There's some really great and imiginative tales from up and coming authors as well as those more firmly established.

This issue features short stories from best selling authors such as Joshua Skye as well as fresh new talent on the rise. This issue also features an indepth interview with him as well as the prologue for Cradle his new fiction.

This issue also features some great dark poetry from DJ Tyrer and Shawn D.Standfast as well as some dark micro fiction from Julianne Snow and Nina D'Arcangela.

Made In by MontiLee Stormer

Rena is stuck in a stop too tantalising to leave. Like a mag pie she is drawn to all the weird and wonderful items she just can't let them go. But time is advancing fast and there's something she has to do before it is too late.

MontiLee has previosuly been published in Daily Nightmares, Black Ink Horror and Murky Depths. She currently reviews for Film Obsession

Twitter @montilee

Website -

The Day the Reaper Came by Shyla Fairfax-Owen

Jonah has a very important decision to make. The outcome will last beyond death.

Church Bodies by Ryan McSwain

Tommy Alexander is the new pastor at First Christian Church in Flatland, Texas. Recently graduated he longs for a packed congregation. His fiance is far away still studying at University and all he has for company are the strange whisperings he hears in his church.

Ryan McSwain is the author of Monsters All the Way Down, you can read his excellent short stories for free by signing up to his mailing list.

Twitter - @ryanmcswain

Website -

Mazed by DJ Tyrer 

Two strangers meet trapped in a maze, desperate to get out. Neither man remembers how they got there but  in these circumstances remembering is not going to help them.

DJ Tyrer is the man behind Atlantean Publishing. His works have previously been published in Ill Considered Expectations, State of Horror :Illinois , Steampunk Cthulhu, History and Mystery, Oh My!, Tales of the Dark Arts, and Chilling Horror Stories.

DJ Tyrer also has a novella available in paperback and kindle - The Yellow House (Dynatox Mysteries)

Twitter - @djtyrer

Website -

The Out-of-Place Place by Joshua Skye

Little Balty is a troubled little boy, so is his mum who he had accompanied to  court  to sit and wait for their judgement.

Joshua Skye is an award winning bestselling author He has written two novels; Cradle and The Angels of Autumn. His short stories Childhood Nightmares: Under the bed alongside previous Siren's Call publications.

Twitter - @joshuaskye1

Website -

The Breezeway by Amelia Gomez  

William wakes up in a small room he's desperate to get back to his family but has he paid the price of his actions?

Amelia Gomez lives in Northern Utah with her husband and children. She inherited her love of reading from her mother and love of writing from her father.

Twitter - @AmeliaGomez315

Website -

Cloaker by Nicholas Paschall

Sometimes you can find creatures in the dark that make ghosts seem harmless.

Nicholas Paschall has published in dozens of anthologies both online and in print. His most recent publications include Creepy Campfire Quarterly, Demonic Visions and Shrieks and Shivers.

Twitter - @Nelfeshne

Website -

A Mother's Love by T.M Delaney

A mother's devotion never ends, not even with death so don't test it!

T.M. Delaney has previously been published in Shadow Story a Young adult horror anthology with her short story, Love Everlasting. She's also had three poems published in Journey.

Absorb or Unravel by Shannyn Campbell

Have you ever wanted to know what it's really like when we die? You probbably shouldn't read this.

Shannyn Campbell is an Austrailian author who holds a Creative Arts degree from the University of Wollongong.

Twitter @livefromthegong

Sussenfolk by Lee.A.Forman

Carl wakes up after a terrible accident but at least he's still got his health...

Lee.A.Forman has been previously published in many horror magazines and is currently writing a web series called Silence in the Willow field.

Twitter - @leeanfrewforman

Website -

Into The Blue by Jon Olson

Where do Atheists go when they die? Do the rules of Heaven and Hell still apply?

Jon Olson is a author of horror and dark fiction. He is also a member of Pen of the Damned and The Horror Writers Association.

Twitter - @jonolsonauthor

Website -

Glass Shards by Jae Malone 

Melanie and  Jivin are a couple absolutely determined to stay together but each party has their own idea of together forever.

Jae Malone lives in Texas and is soon to receive her M.F.A in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University

Website -

Its Come for Me by Paul Edward Fitzgerald

Some people are just so stubborn that  they refuse to die but what eventually will become of them?

Paul Edward Fitzgerals beleives the best stories are those that come from a place in truth and loves writing macabre tales that focus on the dark side of human nature.

Twitter - @pauledwardfitz4

Website -

End of the Ride by Rivka Jacobs

Simon Gonzalez is exploring in Elm Park Woods, where he meets a friend Perry who's disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Pivka Jacobs has been writingfor many years and has previously appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the Far Frontiers anthologies, The Literary Hatchet, Siren's Call Ezine, Riding Light Review amongst many others.

Twitter - @RivkaJacobs

Facebook -

The Whale by Joe Young

Our protagonist is struck by writers block and will go to desperate lengths to overcome it.

Joe Young is a freelance writer and illustrator he has previously appeared in  Morpheus Tales, Wordland 2, Nat.Brut, Haunted Waters Press and many others.

Twitter - @THE_Joe_Young

Facebook -

Luna by Timothy C.Hobbs

Luna mourns the ony man she has ever loved and would do anything to be reunited.

Timothy C.Hobbs has previously published four novels, two novellas and two short story collections. He has appeared in many journals and magazines.

Twitter -  @TimothyHobbs8

Website -

Hello Mr Reaper by Anthony Avina

Drew Glover isn't afraid of death. He's terrfied of the Grim Reaper and he should be, they have beef.

Twitter - @AuthorAAvina

Website -

Beyond by Franis DiClemente

John O'Brien lead  a hard life but in death he's counting on a sweet afterlife.

Twitter - @FranDiClem

Blog -

Heaven or Hell by Winnona Vincent

Rico did a very bad thing and even in death he doesn't feel remorseful. But luckily for him he has his sweet grandma to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Winnona Vincent lives in California where she writes both Horror and Fantasy fiction.

Blog -

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Inner Sins # Issue 22

Inner Sins is a free webzine of all things dark and features many great dark tales from new writers and those more established on the  writing scene.

I was lucky enough to be published in Issue 21  with my story Madam Spizak's Home for Little Boys and Girls which you can read for free here

You can read Inner Sins # Issue 22 here

Issue 22 is packed with great stories by  Jim Musgrave, Alexsander Cosic and Katie Palmer-Stevens. Plus great dark poetry from Milenko Zupanovic, Michael Lee Johnson and D.B.Heath.

Issue 22 also features part 10 of the Black Desert Sagas, you can read each installment here

The Sunset Unlimited by Jim Musgrave

Bill has a life long love for trains and is devasted with the ending of the Sunset Limited a train that has travelled across America for thirty years. Along with his darling wife Arlene they take a trip on the  last ever Sunset Limited  voyage to discuss their future together. They long for a child of their own and will do anything to have one.

However during their trip they meet some very interesting characters and learn that everyone on board, even the staff are to receive a prize when they leave.

This great tale is darkly funny and macabre with a few eye popping moments with many twists and suprises. Plus there's a great interview with Jim Musgrave who is the issue's featured writer.

John is Just a Lumberjack by Alexsander Cosic

Mathew and his wife Amy have relocated to northern Washington for a simpler life. Finding work as a lumberjack Mathew meets John who is a strange, closed up person. He lives by himself off grid in the mountains with his dog.

But is John all he seems? He swears that he's just a lumberjack but Mathew isn't so sure. He just can't work him out.

I Wish the Ground Would Swallow Me Up by Katie Palmer-Stevens

Ever experienced a moment so torturously embarassing that you wished the ground would simply swallow you up?

Our 17 year old protagonist has "more hormones than sense." She's had enough of being sensible, she wants to cut loose and go over to the dark side.