Thursday 3 July 2014

Writing Blog Hop: Author - Stuart Keane

After a few weeks of preparing a wedding, actually getting married and going on a mini honeymoon, it’s time to get back to the writing. What better way to do that then with my very first Writing Blog Hop. A Writing Blog Hop is as it sounds, it’s like a relay between authors. We answer a few questions, tag other authors and they do the same.
The author who tagged me is Shari Sakurai, a British author who wrote Demon’s Blood, an original take on vampires, and the upcoming Perfect World. You can find out more about Shari by visiting Goodreads  or her Website.
So, here are the questions. Let’s do this!
1. What Am I Working On?
Currently, I’m preparing the final format of All or Nothing, my debut feature length novel. It’s due for release on June 30 on Amazon Kindle and paperback. It’s going to be a busy week. I’ve received my ARC reviews back and all were positive so this is becoming a busy, but very exciting time. As well as this, I’m editing two short stories for two upcoming anthologies and I’m currently working on my new novel. 2014 has been a busy year for me thus far and this doesn’t look like changing.
2. How Does My Work Differ From Other’s In It’s Genre?
I don’t think it falls into the one genre which makes it more accessible to a wider audience. The book is primarily a horror. However, it borrows from the psychological/suspense/thriller genres in equal measure. On some counts it’s also a crime thriller and a drama. I like to alternate between genres because it’s not too restrictive and I find it more liberating to write this way. It also can produce some interesting results. After all, horror needs suspense and vice-versa so it’s more a natural process that infuses into my work.
3. Why Do I Write What I Do?
It’s been a life long dream of mine to do this. Since I first read Richard Laymon – and to be honest any book, my first ever when I was three – I’ve always enjoyed being creative. It started from reading, processed through school and college, all the way up until I hit thirty and realised I was ready to do this. Two years later, this January, I started my first novel and released my first novella, The Customer Is Always… which has received some great reviews. In six months, I’ve had several short stories accepted to several anthologies (Terror Train is currently available on Amazon Kindle and paperback) and I’m humbled by the response to my work. This is why I write what I do. I remember being excited when I first read a book that appealed to me and my hope is that I can return this to people who appreciated good horror.
4. How Does My Writing Process Work?
It depends on my current project. For example, All or Nothing I planned from the beginning to the end. I knew where I wanted it to go. This method can be quite taxing. However, on The Customer Is Always…, I just wrote it and waited to see where it went. The characters developed, the story progressed, and the finished product was a taut, tight thriller. I normally will edit as I go, finish a draft and then go back over it, bulk it, fine tune it etc. Sometimes I will write everything, re-read it before I progress and then go back. As a result, I don’t really have a set process but it’s interesting to mix it up with this part of the writing.
The one thing I always do, regardless of project, is develop the key characters first. Even if they change motive, flip from a heel to face etc. I always try to get their basic character down first. This always helps me to lend their motives and challenges clarity, to ensure their development isn’t too erratic or sudden.
Now I’ve answered the questions, I hand this over to my nominated authors. These are four names in the horror genre to keep an eye on. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to miss their work.
Kyle M Scott, author of Consumed: Volume 1. One of my favourite horror books of the year, this volume includes four of the sickest, most depraved horror stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. I have the pleasure of working with Kyle on an upcoming collaboration and to say I’m excited is an understatement. You can read more about Kyle on Goodreads or on his Website.
Charie D. La Marr, author of several novels, most notably Bumping Noses and Cherry Pie. Charie is also a keen contributor to several anthologies such as Cut Up!, Axes of Evil, and The Terror Train Anthology – a book I had the privilege of sharing with her. Quirky and wholly original, her work deserves to be read. You can read more about Charie on Goodreads.
Jack Rollins is the author of the Dr Blessing series. Jack is unique as he bases his horror in the 1800′s, in Victorian England. Think Jack The Ripper atmosphere and detail and you’re halfway there. His books are creepy and terrifying in equal measure and a must for anyone who’s a fan of Hammer Horror or classics like Frankenstein and Dracula. You can read more about Jack on Goodreads.
Matt Shaw, author of Sick B*stards and the upcoming Porn. Shaw is the author of over forty books and also has a talent for film making, taking the initiative to adapt his own books into short films. Matt is a hard working individual, one who fully deserves to be recognised for his contribution to the horror genre. His ability to push the boundaries of taste, sex and violence is unparalleled. You can read more about Matt on Goodreads or on his Website.

Writing Blog Hop: Author - Jack Rollins

I have been asked to take part in my first Writing Blog Hop. For those who don’t know, this is a bit like a relay between authors, where each writer answers a set of questions, then signposts to other author blogs. They do the same and on it goes.

The author who tagged me is Stuart Keane, writer of “The Cusomer is Always…” and “All or Nothing” (which is currently being eyed for mainstream publication). You can find out more about Stuart and his work at his website or on Goodreads

Now on to my bit.

1. What Am I Working On?

Several projects at once, in fact. The closest to release is a novella called The Séance which I aim to make available as an e-book this summer. The story is set in Victorian London, but is separate from the Dr Blessing series. Simultaneously, I am working on 2 stories connected to Dr Blessing. I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t read the first 3 parts, but I’ll give away a couple of hints: London between the Rapture and Christmas… And we have to go right to the beginning before we can get to the end…

2. How Does My Work Differ From Other’s In Its Genre?

The Dr Blessing stories are based in the horror genre, but, particularly with Dr Blessing’s Rapture (the second part of the series) I wanted to play with things a bit and add more of a sense of Victorian adventure, or thriller, along with some traditional horror aspects.
As the series has a blood-drinking monster at its core, it would be too easy to peddle out just another vampire story, but even vampire fiction has changed over the years. I have avoided the erotic, romantic, “vampires can live among us and be our boyfriends” stuff, by sticking to a simple principle: the creature in my stories is a malevolent, heartless being who will (literally) chew up anyone in its way. No romance. No sparkling in the sunlight. The creature is evil and out for survival by any means.

I think the creepy, gas-lit, foggy London setting helps to take the reader away from the familiar, and takes horror back to basics. Beyond that, I try not to simply throw gore at my readers, although there is naturally some bloodshed; I try to serve something more disturbing, something lingering, something that will make you wonder about it later and hopefully, something you will read again and find all of the little set-ups and connections that were there all along…

3. Why Do I Write What I Do?

I wouldn't say that I will always write horror; I follow specific ideas as they come. I think, for example, I have at least one contemporary thriller and three westerns in me, if I turn my attention to them. If a good sci-fi idea occurred to me, I would follow it up, but there is not a strong desire in me to concoct a sci-fi story. I have steam-punk niggling away in the back of my mind as something I might try one day.

My current and recent works stem from my fascination with Victorian life and there is something classic about horror stories set in that time that really gets my imagination going. I have a contemporary story/series that has been gestating for a long time and while I think of it as horror, it could be considered a supernatural thriller, urban fantasy or dark fantasy. Essentially I write what I believe and hope will be a good, entertaining story no matter what the genre. It’s difficult to explain… I just get an idea, follow it and build upon it, and it just sort of… writes itself.

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

It all depends on the project. I have consciously tried to work in different ways over time. For example, there are stories I have written straight through from start to finish with very little planning, and there are others I have planned meticulously, act by act, chapter by chapter. Some parts of the story I will type directly, and other parts are notes, then handwritten sections, and then these join the typed material when ready. There are times that I have focussed on set-pieces first and then connected the dots and there are whole projects that have ground to a halt as I tried to find the time to get some research done… Then comes the re-reading and rewriting and the tuning up. I try to leave each draft for about a month if I can and around draft 3 or 4, I have to let go of the story and prep it for launch.

Well, that concludes the questions, and so I have to hand over to my nominated author (I hope he's still up for doing this!). Beneath my nomination I have have posted some additional info, including some promo information for those who are yet to get into the Dr Blessing series and who might like to give it a try as well as all the other ways to get involved.

My nominated authors are:
Terry M. West and David Basnett.

Terry is a well known and prolific author, filmmaker, actor and artist. He has written several books in the young adult field (most notably the graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire) and he has also written several horror short stories as well as the horror/thriller novel, Dreg.

Terry's Blog, Confessions of a Darkly Disturbed Ink Slinger is here:

David is another horror writer based in Northumberland, like myself. He has written a young adult horror trilogy: Eve Of The Damned, Island Of The Dead and The Shadow Of Life, based on the young members of a vampire hunting organisation known as De Omori. David also happens to be a friend of mine, and some eagle-eyes readers have spotted that although his stories and mine are separated by over 100 years, they are connected.

David's website is here:

Over to you, gents.

Additional Shoutout
Another horror writer, nominated by Stuart Keane, has put up his blog hop entry too, check out Kyle Scott and his work here:

More info on Jack Rollins:

The first part of the Dr Blessing series, “Dr Blessing’s Curse, Or, The Baby In The Bell-Jar” will be free for download as an e-book from Amazon from 4th July 2014 to 6th July 2014.

Alternatively all 3 parts are available in one volume, “The Cabinet of Dr Blessing” as an e-book on Amazon, and as a paperback.

There are lots of ways to get in touch and get involved – many of my readers and supporters already do, receiving updates and info on upcoming projects, links to other writers, promos, etc.

I would like you to enjoy my work, and if you do like it, please leave a review telling others about it.

The next best thing is for Facebook users to Like my page: where I post up to date info on all of my work.

Those who use Twitter, I would like you to follow me @jackrollins9280, and if you drop me a message saying you read the blog, I’ll know you are a real person and I’ll even follow you back!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Writing Blog Hop - Kyle M. Scott

Hi all. I’ve been passed the baton – so to speak – in a Writing Blog Hop. Now, for those of you wondering what in the hell this is; it’s basically like a relay, (hence my phenomenal reference to batons – that's why I’m a writer, folks!), wherein a writer is nominated to share some info on his work, answer a few questions, and then pass the questions onto one or more of his peers. Exposure, people! Exposure!

I was tagged by my good friend and writer-in-arms, Stuart Keane – Author of The Customer is Always, and the upcoming All or Nothing. Check his work out, because 1 – I said so,  and 2 – He’s a fine writer.

Now for the part all us writers hate....talking about ourselves...

1.      What Am I Working On?

At the moment, I’m just finishing up my second draft of my full length novel, DEVILS DAY. It’s an old school throwback to the sort of horror movies and literature that fueled my adolescence, and is set in 1984 on Halloween night. It’s the tale of a town under siege by satanic forces. I can’t divulge any more than that at present as I hate spoilers. What I can tell you is that it’s an explicit hard-core horror novel with a nostalgic heart pumping blood through its veins. It’s written as a full-tilt rollercoaster ride, and should appeal to fans of monster movies and literature, character-driven thrillers and gore-hounds alike.
2.      How Does My Work Differ From Others In The Genre?

I think any writer worth his/her salt will always find something unique to bring to the table. It may not be a conscious thing, though. I don't spend much time worrying about finding my voice as I'm more interested in telling the stories I want to tell.
With many of my stories, I like to fuse elements of the classic horror I grew up loving, with the more hardcore elements found in modern horror - I often try to create recognisable, almost comfortable horror scenarios and then pull the rug out from the reader with explicitly brutal scenarios that often cross more than a few lines of decency. The melding of old and new, hopefully makes for an interesting, disorientating and shocking read. In my work scenes of whimsy or nostalgia can turn on a dime into vicious, hard hitting violence.
 Also, my background is that of a horror reviewer, (cinema and literature),  I’m a true fan. I do this because I love it. I’m writing for the fans of the genre, and for myself. That same joy that I find in telling the stories hopefully translates into a fun experience for the reader. 

3.      Why Do I Write What I Do?

As I mentioned before, Horror is my great love. I’ve lived and breathed the genre since I was a child, and it’s never left my heart in all the intervening years. I believe as a genre, it can thrill, terrify, teach and even comfort. Through many of the tumultuous periods in my life, Horror has been there. I owe the genre big-time, and after spending years reviewing and dissecting the art of others, I found myself dissatisfied. I realised that if I wanted to give something back to the genre that gave me so much, it was time I turned my hand to creating my own dark realities. I haven’t looked back and I never will. I may experiment with other genres, but Horror will always be my home. It’s either this or kick bricks in the street.

4.      How Does My Writing Process Work?

It’s evolved into a really organic thing, as time has went on. When I began, my writing day would consist of perhaps five hours of self-doubt, some pacing the floor, and a page of writing, but as time has went on and my confidence in my work has grown, I find that it’s a very natural process. 

Usually, I’ll have an idea that gets stuck in my head and needles away at me until I acquiesce. I tend to obsess over whatever I’m working on to what could be considered an unhealthy degree. I have difficulty focusing on anything other than the story in my head, and usually I’ll only work on one project at a time – give it my all, so to speak. 

I tend to allow the characters and the stories to grow and expand as I write them, and often find myself being dragged along for the ride with no idea where my creations plan to take me. It’s a fun, liberating experience that often leaves me simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated.

Once I complete my first draft, I give the novel a few weeks to breathe. I try to turn my mind from it for a spell, and then return to iron out any issues that I may have overseen, and hone the characters, pace and tone. After the second draft, I let it rest again for a few more weeks and then read as any reader would. If all’s well, its publication time. So far that's been the case so it’s happy days all around at the moment.

Okay, here endeth the questions.

For anyone interested, you can purchase my first book, CONSUMED - VOLUME 1 via the links below:

77p UKP/ $1.29 USD*Version*=1&*entries*=0 UK USA

I also wanna give a quick shout out to Author, Jack Rollins. And again, to Staurt Keane for nominating me for this here lil fun-fest.

Jack Rollins 
Stuart Keane


Thursday 15 May 2014

Book Review - 'The Customer is Always' by Stuart Keane


Horror has a long standing relationship with political and social metaphor.
Dating all the way back to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the genre has been used to shine a light on the issues of the day, be they racism, communism, the Vietnam conflict or any number of social ills that encroach on the growth of a society.
In more recent years, we’ve seen authors such as Bentley Little tackle the modern worlds woes, and even Stephen King has a thing or two to say about our society as a whole.
For every mindless slasher movie and/or novel, (and there is nothing wrong with that style either – I’m a huge fan), there will always be work out there that shows just how intelligent the genre can be, when its handled with the right care and skill.
Stuart Keane is one such writer.
His first release – the novella, ‘The Customer is Always...’, shows a refreshing sense of confidence and focus. The story itself, a simple game of cat and mouse, is elevated by the setting, the characters and the subtext, all of which is handled with zero pretention, and for maximum impact. Stuart – clearly a student of the late great Richard Laymon – has an keen sense for what makes horror such an entertaining and enthralling genre, and he understands that the story will hit all the harder if the reader can relate.
Many of us have worked in call centres – I myself have served my time caught amidst the snakes, backstabbers and power-trippers that make up that particular vipers nest – and we know the ropes. Stuart, dare I say, is no stranger to such a dehumanising environment.
His sharp, violent and telling novella details the workplace with relish, and no small amount of vitriol, but it never suffocates the sense of pace or the suspense. It’s a fast paced thriller that balances its subject matter with its tension, and builds rapidly to a surprisingly thoughtful climax.
‘The Customer is Always...’ is a fine example of indie-horror – thoughtful, tense, occasionally violent and even a little sad. Keane is off to a very strong start in his new career, and I’ll be watching closely. 

You can buy Stuart's debut release by clicking the link here and heading over to Amazon.

Thursday 30 January 2014

CONSUMED: VOLUME 1 by Kyle M. Scott

Hi everyone.
As many of you know, I've been less than visible of late in the Horror Hotel due to working on my own horror fiction. Well, as of yesterday, I've finally released the first volume of my horror anthology - CONSUMED.
It's taken me quite some time to put the tales together, but I'm really pleased with the results and I'm sure many of you who frequent the hotel, (even in my absence), will find something to enjoy within it's pages. I don't wanna give too much away, but it features four stories - two rather lengthy and two rather brisk - that combine hardcore horror with elements of social satire and dark, twisted humor. Among its pages you'll find murder and mayhem aplenty, and even the end of the world as we know it - all good fun that I hope puts a smile on your face,
The process of creating these stories has been a very enjoyable, (if rather scary), one, and I couldn't have done it without the support and the confidence that I've generously received from so many of you good people. It means the world to me.
Influences that the more horror savvy among you will no doubt detect range from the works of the late, great Richard Laymon to the splatterpunk likes of Edward Lee and the satirical stylings of Bentley Little.
For any of you who do decide to take a dip into my fiction, please take the time to leave a little review on amazon, and if you're among the blogger friends I have here, I'd be most grateful if you would perhaps post a review on your page. Should be fun seeing the different takes on my work.
As you all know, reviews can make a huge difference to a writers exposure, and really can help me get my work out there to a wider audience, so any help and support would be much appreciated.
You can find the link below for the Kindle edition by clicking on the title.
Thanks for the good vibrations along the way, people. This new adventure could never have happened were it not for the goodwill and support that I've garnered here at the hotel. It's really been inspiring and has helped my once lowly confidence reach heights I never knew were in me.

Contact me any time on:

Keep on shining, and I'll see you in the pub.



Other versions are available through Amazon in each specific region. 

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Review - ODD THOMAS (2013)

A short-order cook who has the ability to communicate with the dead and has clairvoyant powers, seeks to thwart tragedy as dark forces gather in his hometown...

Its been a hearty long while since I read the first of Dean Koontz's beloved series of books about the titular Odd, a simple, small-town guy who works as a fry-cook, lives humbly, and also happens to see dead people and a whole lot more besides.

My memory of the novel is a strong one. I remember it being both a lighthearted supernatural jaunt and also a surprisingly affecting one. So much so, that I distinctly recall shedding tears at the books close. the details of the plot are far less hi-def in my imagination than the emotional resonance the book had with me, so it'll be up to far better, less frazzled men than me to compare and contrast between the original literary piece and this troubled adaptation. Instead, I'll review this curious genre-masher on its own merits.

I say 'troubled' as its no secret that ODD THOMAS has become embroiled in some sort of legal limbo and may never actually see a cinematic release. The details are hazy at present as to by Stephen Sommers, (THE MUMMY), latest offering has been held at arms length from the public, but it sure as hell isn't down to quality control. This is a very enjoyable, fast paced and eminently lovable work. 

The first big surprise is that its director, Sommers, isn't exactly known for the integrity of his cinematic output. His films are often fun, but he seems a strange choice to adapt a beloved work of literature. Amazingly, he does wonders here, creating an off-kilter, warm and welcoming reality in which the characters of the novel are given free reign to run amok, and what characters they are...

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Review - Haunter (2013)

HAUNTER is a strange little enigma of a film...

Starring young Abigail Breslin, ( ZOMBIELAND), its the tale of a deceased young lady who attempts to reach out to the mortal realm in a bid to save the owners of the home she haunts from suffering a similar fate as her own.

Its a film that deems to transcend its genre trapping by way of being a thoughtful, and thought-provoking puzzle-piece, and at the same time, aims to be a universally accessible ghost story/mystery, (boasting a PG13 certificate, no less), that anyone can settle into with relative ease.

 It saddens me to say, as a fan of Vincent Natali's previous works, (CUBE, GINGER SNAPS), that HAUNTER fails almost completely at the former and falls victim of the weakness' inherent in the latter.