Greetings, fellow horror freaks, and many spooky salutations.
I do hope you’re all keeping well and gorging on the very best horror your depraved minds can track down. Speaking of the depraved, there’s extra cause for celebration this Halloween in the way of the arrival of a very special, twisted young man, but we’ll get to that shortly…
First off, I’d like to give a couple of shout-outs to two fellow author friends of mine who released new titles in September. Both have been astoundingly supportive throughout my horrorific endeavours, and their respective works deserve all the attention they can get.
The first title is from Miriam Maddock, her debut historical fiction novel Beyond the Darkness, the first instalment of her planned Sixth Amulet series set in my very own Scotland. Hit the amazing cover image below to grab your copy:
And secondly we have Priory, the new beautifully designed gothic thriller from horror mastermind Becky Wright of Platform House Publishing. Becky has a number of titles under her belt, and this one looks like a worthy addition to her bibliography. Hit the awesome cover below to step into the horrors of Priory:
There’s one final super-special shout-out I wanted to include in the way of an amazing photo manipulation devised by my good friend Brandi Kirschbaum, a bit of a legend in many fields and most recently in the process of turning her formidable creative brain to writing. She’s currently devising a novel inspired by her and fiancé Michelle’s meeting (yes, the same Michelle to have hosted a series of For Rye discussions back in April upon its release, and a brilliant wordsmith in her own right) so be sure to follow them both on social media to keep up with their future projects. Anyway, here’s the fabulous For Rye-inspired image Brandi came up with. Renata would be proud.
As for my own goings on, September saw my short story Leopold’s Light finally seeing the light of day. This is a story I wrote nearly two years ago which was due for release in an online publication which unfortunately folded before the story could be shown. I was then extremely excited for an amazing new site called Undead Press to accept the story, where it garnered more than 1000 views…until that site met difficulties and folded also. I’m now convinced the story is cursed.
Anyway, it’s once again back out for submission, this time at Sirens Call, a popular online magazine where three other stories of mine have been previously featured, so it’s my hope that Leopold’s Light can finally find a home for good. Several readers have told me this is their favourite thing I’ve written, so if you fancy a tale of cannibalism and lighthouse madness, head over to my website to check out this five-minute nightmare. Oh, and here’s the photo I posted on social media thanking those thousand people for reading. Really just an excuse to show off my cat’s cute tail:
The final piece of news before we move onto the important stuff is that my appearance on The Writer Community Podcast finally went live on various platforms. Step back in time aaaaall the way back to April, a few days before For Rye was released, when I had the pleasure of talking all things writing with fellow author Megan Beth Davies, who absolutely gets the Gav seal of approval for allowing me to ramble on about cannibalism for probably a bit too long. Who am I kidding?! She started it!
Hit the image below to check it out:
And now for what I’ve been dying to show you.
Behold, The Last Testament of Crighton Smythe:
This latest nightmare of my mind is dropping on Halloween, but you can hit the cover image above to pre-order your copy at a bargain price today!
I like to think of this crazy first-person (possibly unreliable) narrative as my American Psycho-meets-Catcher in the Rye, a stream of consciousness peek into the mind of a man utterly disillusioned with the world around him, hell-bent on navigating a fresh series of catastrophes in some rather unusual and horrifying ways.
It had been my intention to reveal the cover on this blog and to my trusty newsletter subscribers before everyone else, but life got in the way and I was only able to cobble together this newsletter after the cover had already dropped. However, as a special thank you for your ongoing support, allow me to offer you the first few pages of The Last Testament of Crighton Smythe, preceded by the back-cover blurb. Scroll down to meet the twisted Mr Smythe.
I very much hope you’ll let Crighton Smythe into your heart this Halloween. I strongly advise you allow him to tell you the story of his life first-hand, and the gruesome tale of how he came to meet his grisly end. It’s for your own good…
So farewell, fellow horror freaks, and stay spooky this Halloween season. Further excerpts from The Last Testament of Crighton Smythe will be dropping on social media throughout October, so do hit me up on the channel of your choice.
Happy nightmares, one and all…
Crighton Smythe could see how everyone was going to die – except himself.
A social outcast who relied on his mother to keep him, Crighton had to use his ‘knack’ to his advantage when Mrs Smythe took ill and financial pressures began to mount. But as his visions started to increase in intensity, and his hatred of the city around him began pushing him to his limit, he found himself wondering how much more he could take.
Then he died.
In his own words, let Crighton Smythe tell you the story of how he perished. Where is he now?
Discover for yourself.
Read on for an exclusive look at the first few pages of the novella…
THE LAST TESTAMENT OF CRIGHTON SMYTHE
I remember waiting for Mr. Rivera, who will die from a brain hemorrhage fourteen years and seven months from now, to return to his office so I could sneak out of Pleasance Heights. How odd to know the exact time and manner of everyone’s death but your own. Didn’t see mine coming and now here I am.
My name is Crighton Smythe, and this is the story of how I died.
Might as well start with Baby Buggy Lady. So I’ve left our apartment building and there I am, making my way down Delphi Street, trudging through the snow. It’s hard not to bash into people when you have your earplugs in and you’re looking up at the rooftops. See, I had this knack where I could see in folks’ faces exactly how and when they were going to die. It worked with hearing just a voice most times, too. Sometimes I felt like my brain was going to explode with all the death, so I wore the earplugs and kept my eyes to the rooftops as a way to dull the knack. I liked rooftops, so it was okay. You could get out onto the roof of our apartment then all the way down our street and round onto Jocasta Avenue if you followed the buildings. Livvy and I used to sit out on our roof all the time. Before we died, that is.
So it’s pretty cold with all the snow, but I’m wearing the parka, gloves, and hat that Livvy – crappers, sorry, that’s my ma – gave me for our nights on the roof. Anyways, I’ve come out here to do something so I better get it done. I take a big bite of butter, pop the plugs out of my ears, and lower my eyes to the streets. The sound of the city rushes in. Some guy (Cardiovascular disease, fifty-third birthday!) is standing on a crate barking through a megaphone about all that crummy ‘Nam business. There’s always someone yacking on about that these days. I got enough death buzzing round my head without having to hear that. But that’s when I see Baby Buggy Lady, entering stage left out of some department store. Nearly walk right into her but I’m pretty quick on my feet, despite my size, so I skip a step to avoid her then stand aside and let her pass. I wince as the usual earache throbs in the sides of my head, but I manage to turn the grimace into a big goofy grin, spread right across my face for Baby Buggy Lady. Her eyebrows arch warily. She smiles back.
Then I see it.
Garbage truck, twenty minutes!
Or bus. Or something. I wasn’t sure at that moment to be honest, but I knew it was big, and I knew it was soon. Didn’t much like the thought of seeing someone die, but this knack of mine was getting so intense I had to see if there was any truth to it. This was just what I’d been traipsing around looking for: someone on their way out soon whose death I could see for myself. If I was right, Baby Buggy Lady’s time was only minutes away.
So I follow her, keeping my distance. Besides my boots in the snow I don’t make a sound. Never have. Livvy always said I was quiet as a fox. But yeah, I pick up my pace to match the woman’s. Getting a bit nervous I’ll have one of my stupid lousy blackouts before I get to see what I need to see, but I’m feeling all right. I’m taking another bite of butter from the block in my parka pocket (starting to melt) when Baby Buggy Lady suddenly disappears round a corner. I hurry. Not that I need to. There was still another few streets before the life was demolished from her and her baby.
Then I hear it, the bellowing of the eighteen-wheeler. I start to feel dizzy, as anyone would gearing up to see something like this. Don’t black out, I keep telling myself. Don’t black out, don’t black out, don’t black out.
So I keep to the shadows while I wait for the inevitable. Baby Buggy Lady must be deaf, dumb, and blind to step in front of the semi, but she does. I must sound like a piece of work to you, but she had it coming. I’m telling you, everyone in this city’s the same. Anyways, it’s all too fast for me to make out much detail, but I do see Baby Buggy Lady’s baby buggy fold in on itself in much the same way as they get folded up on the bus. Can’t say the woman folds up quite as neat; her whole body kind of wraps around the front of the truck, the way a water balloon might hug around a baseball bat before it explodes. Jeez, I dunno. It was over so quick. All that mattered was that the vision had come true.
The death I saw in people’s faces and heard in their voices, it was real.