Author: Stacey Jaine McIntosh

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Margarita Felices

Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Margarita – I live in Cardiff, Wales, home to castles, mountains, rugby, Doctor Who and Torchwood, with my partner and three little mad dogs and I work for a well-known TV broadcasting company. I love living in Cardiff because, for all its modernisation, there are still remnants of an old Victorian city. I love writing and will always partly base my stories in Cardiff because it has such character. When I can, I go out to the coast and take photographs, we have a lovely castle in the city centre and a fairy tale one just on the outskirts, so when I feel I can’t write anything, I take a ramble to those locations and it clears my head.

I have a TV production background.  I used to be a professional photographer and decided to move into the TV world. I started off working on our local news programmes and then moved on to Arts, Factual, Drama, back to Factual, back to Drama (Torchwood, Dr Who and a few regional shows). Now I work for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and we produce some of the music for well-known TV shows, Doctor Who for example!  I’ve learnt so much from working there about Marketing and Promotions. It’s been an absolute blessing.

I am Gothic; I love the fashion, the architecture and the music. The club in my novel is real. While writing Judgement of Souls 3, I got all of my club material and clientele ideas from there; I wouldn’t have finished that section without it.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

Margarita – It was at a very early age to be honest. I remember writing a bit of fanfic when I was still in junior school.  (I won’t say which artist it was about). And it was inevitable that someday I would end up writing a novel. My English school teacher always limited me to no more than ten pages – it was hell for someone who could write and write and… well you get my meaning!

I was a reporter for the school magazine and later became its Editor. When I left school, I wrote short stories for women’s magazines and it paid my way through college. I later took a course in scriptwriting and came third in a BBC writing competition. (Long before I actually joined the BBC).


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

Margarita – I started with Paranormal Romance/Gothic Horror. But I have written Christmas stories, an erotic comedy, a rock star romance short story and a creepy story about being in a coma. I have always felt a little frustration when it came to some Gothic Horror stories; the female characters are always weak and in need of rescue. I wrote a story that I wanted to read. One where I didn’t feel the need to eye roll and shout at the female to sort the problem out herself!

Stories come to you. They are not always the genre that you have been writing about. It’s nice to have some variety or you get labelled into a category and it’s hard to get out of that.  But I do love the paranormal because you can write whatever fantasy or situation you want. It doesn’t have to mirror too much reality.

My first full length novel, Judgement of Souls 3: Kiss at Dawn is the first story written for the trilogy. But I wanted to do things a little different; so I began by writing the ending to the trilogy in the hopes that it would tease your curiosity into knowing how they all got there. My research included a visit to one of the main synagogues in London to talk about the Hebrew Bible that I use ‘loosely’ in the trilogy and it’s worked out really well.

Judgement of Souls 2: Call of the Righteous, concentrated on a 300-year history of my vampires and their search but also introduced The Righteous, a secret organisation started by the Church to find, and kill, all supernatural and paranormal beings. It also involved over 300 years of mortal history including the French Revolution – did you know that it was a vampire who started it?  I have also visited most of the locations that I use in the novels so I have first-hand knowledge of the locations I place my characters in. It’s been extremely fascinating.

The first part Judgement of Souls: Origin; was probably the hardest part to write. It involved a lot of Crusader battle history, uniforms, locations, even dialect, but I’m no stranger to research.

The series has been optioned twice by US Producers and I’m looking for funding to get these books on the big screen and it’s just a matter of time – I’m keeping everything crossed.

I’ve written a few short stories too that I am very proud of…  they have been such fun to write. Ordinary Wins is having some great reviews on Amazon. It’s about how an ordinary woman who won the heart of a famous drummer in a rock band… check it out.

I co-wrote a naughty little piece of erotic comedy called The Decoys with my best friend. We had the most fun. It’s about two Welsh girls who decide to spend their redundancy money and go on holiday to the South of France hoping that it was just like the films they love to watch from the 50s and 60s. Turns out it’s not. That is until they meet Matt and Dani who have just robbed a yacht of a very sought-after necklace and need a place to hide. They also need to get the necklace out of the country and these two girls seem like the perfect ‘decoys’.

And my latest is called Trancers. Travis has been planning this holiday for months. He intends to drive from one end of the USA to the other. Until a 16-wheeler interrupts his journey. Lucky for him there’s a hotel sign just up the road that he can stop at and assess the damage to his rental car – at least he thought it was a hotel. Have you ever wondered where people go when they’re in a coma? Travis is about to find out.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Margarita – I enjoy the escape and the adventure. It’s like meeting new friends and taking an amazing journey with them all. You can’t wait to get back to them, have conversations with them and a lot of laughs along the way. I enjoy the interaction with other authors or with the reader. And I always like the reviews because it’s extremely rewarding to an indie.


Stacey – What scares you?

Margarita – I suppose it’s sitting at my desk some day and getting absolutely no inspiration for new stories. Or that my work will be criticized. Or that my publisher will reject my latest story. Perhaps it’s also that I won’t have enough time to finish the ideas I’ve got written down or that I don’t get to the end of my current work. It’s the thought of time passing too quickly with no written results.

And spiders.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Margarita – It comes from all directions if you stop and listen to what’s going on around you.

Sometimes it’s a piece of music and the way that maybe just one line makes you think. I wrote a story called The Trancers and I got the inspiration for that story from a song called Hotel California. It’s been in my head for years and I never managed to get anything down on paper. And then one day I woke up and started to write, and by the end of the day I had a pretty good plan as to where this story had to go, which direction it had to take. Other times it could be a conversation I may have overheard or even something on TV. For Judgement of Souls 3, I attended the club that I wrote about so got a lot of inspiration from there too. I keep a notepad and pen next to my bed because I have been known to get ideas or even new dialogue for current characters in the middle of the night.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Margarita – It might sound bizarre, but I tend not to read other work while I write. You see, even subconsciously, you may get an idea and spend all night writing it and then n the early hours wake up remembering where you’d read it from and have to start all over again. But I have always been a fan of Anne Rice and Stephen King. Anne Rice writes beautifully, you can feel each and every emotion, even breath the same air as those characters and I could only wish to write half as well. Stephen King can scare the life out of you on every page. His attention to scary detail is something to be enjoyed while you read each page with great trepidation hoping you don’t have those words enter your head while asleep!


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Margarita – I tend to always know how that story will start, where I want to be by the middle and have an ending. I know where my characters will be from start to finish. The rest is written with catch lines on each page. For example, my character has to meet this person page three. My character has to have done this by the time we reach another page.  And so on.  I usually have about 30 pages with just a sentence on each page and fill it all in as I go. And I tend to read and re-read everything I’ve written and edit heavily as I go. And I may also leave writing for a few days, or weeks if I have to and then return to it with a fresh mind, especially if I don’t like the direction I’m taking.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Margarita – Other than the short stories I had published while at collage in the 80s and 90s, Judgement of Souls 3: Kiss at Dawn, (which was published in 2011) was my first real full length novel. This story took so long to write. It started off being so different to what it is today and it wasn’t intended as a trilogy, it just turned out that way. I realised once I had almost finished it that my characters had a back story and it needed to be told or none of it would make any sense.

The novel though began life being called Gothic Dreams and my lead character Rachel was not to be trusted. She was in fact the Max character who is now the villain in the published novel. But halfway through writing it I realized that she wasn’t like that at all, so I started again. New characters were introduced and new situations, Max was introduced.

I’ve read so much vampire literature that I wanted a story to be totally different – this is not your ordinary vampire story. It’s not all about blood sucking beings.  It’s revenge, its romance, it’s a treasure hunt for one of the most important vampire artefacts and the winner will get the ultimate prize. I have written characters with a real history and also a common goal, mortal and immortal coming together and you live with them in their 300-year journey. It has a different perspective to any vampire story that I have ever read. It’s blood, sex and rock ‘n roll.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?


Margarita – My lead in the Judgement of Souls trilogy is Rachel and I have a certain attachment to her – how could I not? I have spent ten years writing with her and I’m happy she got the ending she deserved.  But I haven’t really finished with her. I intend to write a ten-episode TV feature with her and Daniel.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Margarita – Not that I can recall. It’s like watching a film. You have to get to the end because even though the story may start off slow, it could pick up and be amazing on the last quarter. I also leave reviews, because it’s those pointers that help indie authors. Readers may not think it’s worth doing, but it is.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

Margarita – The Haunting of Hill House. It had so many possibilities to be so much better and I was so disappointed in the end. I’m more a supernatural/paranormal watcher than a slasher type watcher and the trailers for Hill House appealed to me, shame that the trailers ended up being better than the actual series. I hear that there’s now a series 2 being planned?


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Margarita – I’m torn between Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker.  I’d really like to know what really inspired them to write the stories that are classics with us now. Get a more in-depth knowledge of their thoughts and nightmares that inspired the characters. I’d certainly like to know why Bram Stoker had Dracula kill Mina’s best friend Lucy knowing what she meant to Mina. To me it’s the only flaw in that story, I know that Dracula was heartbroken when Mina left to join Jonathan but I want to know why he would choose to do it. And I’d really like to have been around when Mary Shelley woke up after her nightmare to recall her story to Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Margarita – Don’t give up. If you have a story that is dying to be told, then work hard to tell it. But make sure you are doing your best work and you get an editor that can help you make the most of your manuscript. Don’t pay anyone to publish your work. The point is that they pay you.

Don’t give up even though you may get rejection letters. I had so many over the years I could paper a room! One publisher didn’t even bother writing a rejection letter, she simply scribbled, ‘No thanks’ on the bottom of the covering letter I wrote her! If everyone thought like that there’d be no books, no films. Keep writing, even if its dribble! Then read, re-read and edit. Try and write a little each day if you’re unable to spend too much time writing. One hundred words a day is seven hundred a week, twenty-eight hundred a month and one hundred words a day is so simple!

And, carry a Dictaphone or a notebook and pen!


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Margarita – Max motioned to Stoner to bring her towards a locked door. Opening it, Stoner pushed her in. She tripped and fell to the floor. The walls of her new cell trembled as the door crashed behind her. Then a six-inch by eight-inch hatch in the top part of the door opened and Max looked in.

Rachel looked up at the hatch. “Do you think shutting me in here is going to prove anything Max? I’ll stay in here until tomorrow night then I’ll get out and come after you. What’s this going to prove?”

From the shadows behind her, came a rustling noise and quickly stood , preparing to be attacked, her fangs starting to protrude in defence, but as the shadow came closer, it spoke…


It was Daniel.

Max smiled as he looked on. “What time do you think it is then?” He mimicked looking at his watch. “I can tell from your eyes that you haven’t fed yet. Isn’t it about time that you did?”

“Max, please!” pleaded Rachel, she ran to the hatch in the door. “Don’t let this happen!”

“Don’t let what happen?” asked Daniel.

“You didn’t think I was going to leave you in there all alone did you?” Max beamed.

Rachel took a deep breath. “I’ll resist it, I know I can.”

“Resist what?” said Daniel. “What’s going on, what aren’t you telling me?”

“That very soon,” said Max in a flash of excitement, “she’ll need to feed, her whole body will feel like it’s on fire, and she won’t be able to resist throwing you up against a wall and draining every drop of blood in your body.” He looked at Rachel through the slot in the door, his hard, determined expression tinged with a feeling of triumph as he saw the pleading look in her eyes. “She won’t be able to help it, in the end she’ll turn.” He looked away and then added under his breath, “then we’ll see just how much you love your mortal.” Then he closed the opening in the door, the sound of it echoing in the small, now darkened room.


Thank you so much for your time! If you would like to find out more about Margarita or her work, check out the links below.


Amazon Page:

JOIN the JOS Facebook pages.

Come on by and join the fangs… vV””Vv

Follow me on Twitter: @felicm60

Follow me on Instagram:





The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Em Dehaney

Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?


Em – I’m from the UK, I was born in a riverside town called Gravesend but now I live out in the country with my husband and two kids (no pets, other than fish).


Stacey – When did you start writing?


Em – I’ve always written. When I was little and people asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I always said “author”. It’s only in the last four years, since my son was born, that I started to take it seriously and try to get things published.


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?


Em – I don’t really like to be pinned down to one genre, on what I write or what I read. It’s mainly a mixture of horror, historical and dark/urban fantasy. I guess I like the dark, the weird, the magical and the supernatural.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?


Em – When a story is finished! Also, when someone reads my work and likes it. There is no better feeling for a writer than getting a message out of the blue from someone (other than your mum or your best friend, they have to say they like it) saying they thought your story was cool.


Stacey – What scares you?


Em – In terms of typical “horror”, I have had a werewolf fear since I watched An American Werewolf in London when I was far too young. My real-life fear is anything bad happening to my kids. I’m also not a fan of flying, which is a real pain because I love travelling.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?


Em – I get a lot of inspiration from local history, but I’m like a magpie, picking up little titbits all the time that I can fit into my stories.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?


Em – Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, the Poppy Z. Brite books by Billy Martin, Angela Carter, Stoker, Lovecraft, Ben Aronovitch, Roald Dahl,


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?


Em – Undisciplined! I have two young children so I have to cram my writing time on whenever and wherever I can.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?


Em – It was actually a poem called Here We Come A Wassailing, in the 2016 Burdizzo Books 12Days Anthology. It was through this that I met Matthew Cash and became his partner in crime at Burdizzo. We now release a few anthologies a year, with stories from our favourite writers who we like to call our Burdizzo Family, as well as our own novels and short stories. We like to support new and diverse writers.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?


Em – I have a real soft spot for Mikey, the main character in my story The Mermaid’s Purse. He is a kid with a hard life, an abusive mother and no friends. Things change for Mikey when he finds a baby shark on a trip to the beach, and his life is never the same again. His story can be found in my collection Food of The Gods. I would really like to pick up Mikey’s story as an adult, I’m intrigued to see where he ends up after the events of The Mermaid’s Purse.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?


Em – The first time I tried to read Stephen King’s The Shining, when I was about 11 or 12, I had to stop reading. The Overlook Hotel was too much for me back then, but I did go back to it and finish it as an adult. Nowadays, I am quite ruthless with books. I don’t have a huge amount of time to read, so what I do read has to grip me. If I lose interest in a book early on, I tend to give up and move on to the next one. My TBR pile is massive, as is often the case with authors.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?


Em – I’m loving zombie comedy The Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. I’ve been catching up on a lot of horror films from around the world that I’ve missed over the last few years, and I really enjoyed the Canadian film Pontypool and Finnish Christmas horror Rare Exports.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?


Em – I’d love to know the real identity of Jack The Ripper, and to see how his murders were investigated. I used to work in a police Serious Crime Department, so the failures of the Police in this case interest me greatly. What could they have done better? Why did they never catch the killer? Was there some great cover-up or conspiracy?


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?


Em – Never give up. Write as much as you can. Try and finish a story before moving onto the next one (this is a lot harder than it sounds). When I first started writing I joined the site Scribophile, where you post your writing and get it critiqued by other writers, and you in turn critique the work of others. It was a great place to improve my craft, and get used to taking critique. As a writer you need to develop quite a thick skin and get used to rejection, but if you love writing, it is all worth it.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Em – This is the opening paragraph from my latest release, After Us.


“The dead never stayed buried in New Orleans. The rich built houses to store their cold ones when the end came, to stop the tide of bones. But not everyone can afford a mausoleum. The poor had to place their dead lovingly into the damp earth. Bodies interred below sea level had a habit of reappearing whenever Lake Pontchartrain flooded. Coffins would poke through the sodden earth and embalming fluid flowed through the streets like blood.

No, the dead never stayed buried in New Orleans.”


Thank you so much for your time Em! If you would like to find out more, about Em or her work, check out the links below.


A perfect corpse floats forever in a watery grave.
A gang member takes a terrifying trip to the seaside.
A deserted cross-channel ferry that serves only the finest Slovakian wines.
From the dark and decadent mind of Em Dehaney come eight tales of seafoam secrets and sweet treats. Nothing is quite what it seems, but everything is delicious.
This is Food of The Gods.


The dead never stayed buried in New Orleans.

After Us, The Flood is a nightmare tale set amongst the drowned buildings of Hurricane Katrina.




The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Amanda J Evans

Stacey – Hi Amanda, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Amanda – I’m Amanda, I’m an Irish author living in the republic of Ireland with my husband and two children.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

Amanda – I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book, ‘The Little Elf Fairy’ when I was eight and have been writing on and off since then. I only began to take it seriously in 2016 and have been improving my craft ever since.


Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

Amanda – I love to write stories with magic and romance in them and stories that always have a happy ending. I love the idea of good versus evil and that good triumphs. I love stories of hope and worlds with magic and witches, wizards, evil demons. Anything that takes me out of the ordinary.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Amanda – For me it has to be the joy of watching the words fill the page and seeing the story emerge. I write as if I’m watching a movie in my head and I never know what is going to happen next. It makes writing more exciting for me and I get to be the first reader of a great new adventure.


Stacey – What scares you?

Amanda – Death and failure, and rejection are my big fears. Having lost my father to suicide when I was thirteen the fear of death is something that has gripped me very tightly and I worry about losing someone else I love.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Amanda – That is a really difficult question to answer. I don’t know where my ideas comes from. I’m what they term a pantser in the writing world, where I don’t plan or plot. I literally pick up my pen and write the words that come to me. My brand is believe in happy ever after and a lot of my stories focus on death and grief and the suffering of those left behind and their unwavering belief in finding a happy ending. I guess you could say my father is the inspiration behind my writing and my belief that happiness is still possible even when you’ve lost everything.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Amanda – I grew up reading Roald Dahl, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchet, and Enid Blyton. I also loved fairy tales and one of my treasures is the complete book of Hans Christian Andersen tales bought for me by my grandfather when I was ten. Reading preferences have changed over the years but I still love books that have magic and supernatural elements in them. I love the new modern fairytale retellings that have become popular especially the darker ones.


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Amanda – I don’t necessarily have a process. I write every morning. I handwrite everything first so I literally just pick up my pen and continue my story from the previous day. I don’t plot or plan and prefer to let my characters tell me their story. I like to think of myself as a transcriber, putting down on paper what the characters in my head tell me.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Amanda – Finding Forever was the first book I published on 31st January 2017. It’s a romantic suspense novella. My first traditionally published story was Moonlight Magic published by Owl Hollow Press in their Under the Full Moon’s Light Anthology in 2018. This was an urban fantasy story featuring a young witch coming into her powers and it was 7,500 words.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Amanda – I have a few but I think my favorite couple so far have been Kate and Drake from my novel Save Her Soul. Kate is determined to get revenge on the man who brutally murdered her sister and Drake is trying to stop her because she has been cursed. If she gets her revenge, she will unleash hell on earth. This book had so many great twists and turns and a love story that spanned 500 years. It was exciting to write, and Kate was such a strong character even when faced with making the most difficult choice of all. I’m also really fond of the couple in my new book, Winterland, who have a great many challenges to face as well.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Amanda – I try not to do this and give every book a fair chance. Some books start slow and then pull you in half way through. I like to give every book at least 30% and if I do stop reading or can’t finish a book then it will be for a very good reason. If I can’t connect with the main character or don’t care enough about the outcome. It very seldom happens though.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

Amanda – Birdbox on Netflix is probably the last one and before that, The Haunting of Hill house which was amazing.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Amanda – That’s very easy. I’d go back and spend time with my father.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Amanda – Take your time. There’s no rush. Don’t get sucked into thinking everything has to happen quickly. Write because you love to write and not to make money. Be gentle with yourself. There will be days where you don’t feel like writing and that’s okay. You don’t have to write a novel in a month or three months. You can take as long as you need, just always remember why you want to write in the first place. Never lose the joy. Ask for help and advice and read. Most writers are very generous with their time and will answer questions. Most of all, don’t give up. If becoming an author is your dream, go for it.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Amanda – Thank you. I’d love to share an excert from Hear Me Cry. This novella was published on the 16th May 2018 and won the Book of the Year Award at the Dublin Writers Conference 2018. It is a dark fantasy romance retelling of the Irish legend of the Banshee.



Existing in Irish folklore for centuries, Banshee, or bean sidhe, means “woman of the faery”. It hasn’t always been my name, and I haven’t always been the messenger of death. You see, I was cursed, so my mourning call now heralds death. They say love is the cure for all, but it was love that cursed me. You think you know about me, but it’s time I tell the real story.


Chapter 1

Border patrol was always boring. Walking up and down along the veil, eyes peeled in case any human should cross. I hated it, especially the south patrol. Nothing ever happened. To make matters worse, I was alone. No one to chat with, the rustling leaves beneath my feet the only sound. It was just me on the border of the Summer and Autumn Courts, walking between the crisp leaves and blooming flowers. I wanted to be where the action was, where the rest of the warriors were stationed. The north. It was colder and rougher terrain, but at least they saw action. I was stuck here watching the leaves fall off the trees, the large branches shielding me from the blazing sun. Nothing to look at but forest and fields of flowers. Poppies as far as the eye could see.

“Why couldn’t I have been sent to the north?” I sighed as I kicked a pile of leaves. “It’s not fair.” I knew why. It was because I was short, slight, and female. But I could take any of the male warriors and they knew it.

I turned to march along the trail again, the sunlight bouncing off the rippling veil that kept the faery and human worlds separate. The humans couldn’t see or feel the veil, but to me it looked like a pool of clear water suspended in mid-air, rippled from the breeze that blew against it. It has a bluish tint to it as well. It was about the only pleasant thing to look at. The trees lost their appeal after an hour and the poppies, if I didn’t see one again for the rest of my life I wouldn’t care. Who needs fields and fields of them anyway? The Summer Queen must have run out of ideas. I scoffed as I marched through the trees. What’s the point in being a trained warrior if I never see battle, never get to kill a human?

I’d never seen a human, but I had heard the stories. Vicious beings who loved nothing better than to capture a fae and torture them to death or, worse, enslave them for eternity. I shuddered at the thought.

“Help! Help!”

The shouts echoed. I jumped, turning on my heels to see where the noise was coming from.


“It’s coming from inside the veil,” I mumbled as I raced forward. My mind conjured up images of fallen fae, my brothers, trapped and pleading for help. Instinct kicked in and I jumped through the barrier between our worlds, awakening all my senses.

My feet sank into lush green grass and I crouched low, blinking rapidly as bright sunlight assaulted my eyes. I tossed my dark curls over my shoulders and turned my head left and right, looking for the threat. It was quiet. Tall oaks trees covered the ground on both sides, a short pathway through them where the veil had spat me out. In front of me was a vast expanse of water, surrounded by hills and mountains. The grass here was greener than I’d ever seen. I pushed to my feet, looking behind me at the rippling veil. I could only see a small opening from this side, the rest hidden in the canopy of trees. No wonder no humans ever made it through to the other side.


I spun. The shouts came from the water. Two hands poked up through the surface, waving frantically before they were swallowed, pulled beneath and into the darkness.

Running toward the embankment, I kicked off my shoes and plunged into the water. Fae normally weren’t very good swimmers…except for me. I loved the water. It called to me on a deeper level, obeying my commands. I don’t know why and no one seemed to be able to explain it either.

I opened my eyes to look through the darkness. Another of my talents. When I saw legs kicking, I forced my body in that direction. The water clung to my clothes, trying to drag me into the depths. The figure started to sink again, arms raised. I was too late.

I pushed myself as hard as I could. Grabbing a fistful of hair, I tugged upward so I could get a firm grasp on the body. I kicked my legs and we rose to the surface. My head emerged and I sucked in a deep breath, my arm secured tightly around the person’s neck. We weren’t too far from shore.

I pulled the body onto the grassy bank and bent over to catch my breath, refilling my lungs, coughing up the water I’d swallowed. I pushed my wet hair back off my face, forcing it behind my shoulders. The water dripped down my back as I tried to calm my breathing.

I looked down at the body. A male. His lack wet hair covered his face but I caught a glimpse of freckles across his high cheekbones. His full lips were blue. I brush the hair out of the way and gasped when I saw his ears. A human male. He was motionless.

I bent down, watching his chest for movement. Nothing.

I knelt beside him and placed my fingers on his neck. No pulse. It shouldn’t have bothered me, he was human filth, but it did. He wasn’t breathing. Death was taking him and I could save him. I shouldn’t want to, but it felt wrong not to try, not to give him a chance to fight.

Sucking in a deep breath, I leaned over and placed my hands over his checked shirt, pumping hard on his chest.

“Come on. Breathe.”

He remained still, his body cold.

“You can’t die. Not on my watch,” I said through gritted teeth.

I reached forward, looking into his pale face. He looked so peaceful, so normal. Nothing like the stories I’d been told. In fact, he looked quite harmless with his rounded ears. I gasped aloud before laughing to myself.

“I’ve rescued a human. Me, one of the queen’s guard, sworn to protect, and I’ve rescued a human.”

The laughter died in my chest. “What do I do? Do I let him die? He’s probably dead already.”

I shook my head, my hands trembling. I couldn’t let him die. Not like this. Battles were different. In battle, I could cut him down in an instant, but he was defenceless right now.

I leaned forward and felt for a pulse once more. I thought I felt a flutter, but it was faint.

“You can’t let him die, Isla,” I whispered.

I knew I’d never forgive myself if I did nothing.

Pumping his chest once more, I waited for him to cough, breathe, something. It didn’t happen.

I inhaled deeply and steadied my nerves before placing my lips to his and blowing air into his lungs. My body trembled as I pulled back.

He suddenly gasped, water spluttering from his mouth. I grabbed him and rolled him onto his side so he could breathe easier. He was heavier than I expected. No sooner had I moved him than a searing pain shot through my body and I collapsed on the ground. Uncontrollable heat coursed through my veins, like fire ripping through haystacks.

I screamed and tried to fight it. He’d tricked me, poisoned me. I should have let him drown.

The pain started to recede, sweat dripping from my forehead as I brushed my dark curls hair away. My throbbing hands felt like red-hot pokers as I waved them through the air. My heart raced. Something was wrong. I felt different, changed. I ran my fingers across my face. It felt the same, strong chin, full lips, small button nose, and pointed ears. The lake danced in my vision, blurred and distorted.

“Go hálainn,” the voice croaked.

I shook my head. A spell perhaps?

“Go raibh maith agat,” he spoke again, but I couldn’t understand it.

My hands tingled as I held them out in front of me. Veins popped out on the surface of my skin, which was red and swollen.

“What have you done to me?” I shouted as I turned to look at the human. “What poison did you use?” My voice was strained, my throat closing in as I sat up.

“Ni thigim. Are you all right?” He sat up and reached for me.

I flinched, but as soon as his fingers touched my arm, the burning stopped, my vision clearing.

“Cé tusa?”

My gaze met his and I gasped. His eyes were so blue, so mesmerising. I was trapped in them. I felt a pull inside me. It was so strong, I couldn’t resist. My hand reached out to touch his face. I couldn’t stop it. The moment my fingers brushed against his skin, my mind exploded. Lights danced, magic flared, and I fell backwards.

“A Cailin, an bhfuil tu go maith?”

I forced my eyes open, seeing his face hovering over mine. “I c-can’t unders-stand y-you,” I stuttered, trying to regain control.

“I asked if you were okay,” he said, his voice like honey, soothing my body and mind.

I swallowed. “What did you do to me? What poison did you use?”

“Poison?” He shook his head. “I didn’t do anything. You saved me. You…” He paused.

My body slowly began to feel like mine again and I sat up to look more closely at this human.

“I don’t understand. When I touched you, something happened. I thought you poisoned me.”

“Why would I do that?” he asked, leaning toward me, my eyes focusing on his full lips.

I jerked back. He stopped. His eyes roamed my body before coming back to my face. Those blue orbs pierced mine, making me feel the pull again. The longing to touch him. It had to be magic, an entrapment spell.

“What did you say when you woke up? Did you cast a spell on me?”

“A spell?” He laughed.

“You spoke strange words.”

“I spoke my language. Irish. I said you were beautiful and I thanked you for saving me. You’re not from these parts, are you?”

My instincts warned me not to answer, so I pushed to my feet. “I have to go.” I looked around for my shoes, spotting them near the water’s edge.

“Wait,” he said, grabbing my arm.

As soon as he touched me, the heat travelled throughout my body. My vision blurred, my body swaying.

“I got you,” he said as he pulled me to him.

His touch felt soothing, my body melding into his. The heat intensified, and darkness took over.


Thank you so much for your time, Amanda! If you would like to find out more about Amanda and her work, check out the links below.


Amanda J Evans
Romance, Paranormal, and Fantasy Author

Believe in Happy Ever After


Find me on:






Books By Amanda J Evans


Hear Me Cry – A Fantasy Romance Novella 
Winner of the Book of the Year – Dublin Writers Conference 2018



Save Her Soul – A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance

Virtual Fantasy Con Awards 2017 Silver Award for Best Paranormal Book 



Finding Forever – A Romantic Suspense Novella

Summer Indie Book Awards 2017 Winner for Best Thriller


Surviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind



Nightmare Realities – Spooky Short Stories for Ages 9-16






The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Christy Mann

Stacey – Hi Christy, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?


Christy – Hi there. Thank you. It’s great to be here.  I’m Christy. I’m old enough to know better about most things, have 3 adult children, and I’m from Phoenix, Arizona originally.


Stacey – When did you start writing?


Christy – I was young. I’ve always loved writing and have literally done it since I was old enough to hold a pencil.  It was mostly journaling and little scribbles here and there, but I can remember getting journals for birthdays and Christmas and they would be full within a week or two and school notebooks were always filled with writing, instead of homework.


Stacey – You write Horror. It’s an interesting genre. What drew you to it?


Christy – A need to focus on things more horrific than my own life is the best answer. Writing it is how I process emotions. I can do things in writing that I can’t in real life and writing allows me to feel the emotions out in horrific ways without actually doing horrific things.


Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?


Christy – The release. Getting the story out and the emotions processed so I can go about being a happy individual on the outside.


Stacey – What scares you?


Christy – The usual things like dying alone, slipping and falling in the bathtub, and spiders, but what terrifies me the most is how awful people are to each other.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?


Christy – Fears, phobias, my own and other people’s, what most people would consider negative emotional states.


Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?


Christy – That is really a multiple answer question.  Style wise? Stephen King, Dean Koontz, R.L. Stine, Ted Dekker, John Grisham, Clive Barker, Kresley Cole, Laurel K. Hamilton, George R. R. Martin, and the list goes on.


Christy – I gained the most influence from some amazing indie authors though. R.R.Virdi, K.M Vanderbilt, D.R Perry. Daryl J. Ball, Rachael A. Brune, Kelly Blanchard, and the list goes on to include some authors that aren’t even published yet.


Stacey – What’s your writing process like?


Christy – Coffee, butt in chair, procrastinate, more coffee, butt in chair, clackity-clack, more coffee, more procrastination, clackity-clack, research, clackity procrastinate clack, more coffee. Repeat daily.


Stacey – What was the first story you had published?


Christy – Fogoyle: A Short Story. It was supposed to be Death of a Secret, but it got railroaded for about a year. I know me and if I didn’t publish something, I never would, so I pulled out a flash-fiction piece, fluffed it up, polished it up (paid for edits) and hit publish on it to keep my motivation up after a huge disappointment. It’s a series of 5 out now and 10 more planned for 2019.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?


Christy – Not that is published currently. I don’t dislike the characters in what I have out now (except for Latham), but none of them are actual favorites.  The MC’s in my upcoming novel Terrible Friend, Albert and Jax, are the one’s I would call my favorites.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?


Christy – The Books of Blood series by Clive Barker. He’s a favorite of mine, but that particular series made me weirdly uncomfortable. I normally go in for that kind of thing, but that series was too much for me.


Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?


Christy – 5 Headed Shark Attack. I’m a sucker for terrible shark movies. I have to space them out a bit though. Trailer Park Sharks is next on the list.


Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?


Christy – My dad, Albert Einstein, and Edgar Allen Poe.


Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?


Christy – One piece? Learn to be patient. It’s a slow process to greatness and if you aren’t patient, you are going to feel a lot of disappointment.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Christy – Do I?


From my upcoming release January 25th, 2019, Terrible Friend…

<Why are we awake so early Al> The loudest voice rang through his head.

Albert ignored it. It was more of a rhetorical question anyway. No answer would suffice, and Albert just wasn’t ready to deal with the barrage of questions that Jax would inundate him with this early in the day.

He took a deep breath, crossed his fingers behind his head, laid back in the sand, and exhaled slowly as the chorus of voices sang out inside his headspace.

This was the chaos, the resonance of what seemed like a thousand voices, all speaking at the same time, but never saying anything he could make out.

Whispers with lingering esses, moans and groans, bickering and cackling laughter would ring in the back of his head. He could force himself to ignore that part.

Jax, however, would not, be ignored. <Al! Why are we up so early?>

Albert, plagued by the question himself, sat up and took another look around. There were no people about, no sea birds cackling above him, so he really didn’t have an answer. He shifted his weight and laid back. He found the culprit.

A sharp point was jabbing him in the side. He reached under himself and pulled out a chunk of metal. He held his hand out in front of him as he sat up and examined the object in his hand.

A heavy silver chain spilled from his hand and dangled. Sparkling gently as it swung side to side. In the palm of his hand was a large claw-like hand that clung with all its might to a large dark green stone. He examined it gently. The chain looked old and like it had been both pounded with a hammer and chiseled out of a block of silver. The hand that held the stone looked like it had been poured and then scraped with a pick to create the intricate details of 3 sharp talons. “It might have been this?” He listened for a response from Jax.

There wasn’t one. He noticed a strange buzzing sensation in his head. Like clippers were being run up the back of his scalp, but on the inside. The racket that had been blaring just a moment ago was hushed. He turned his hand over and let the necklace slip back onto the sand.

The moment the necklace left Albert’s hand, the buzzing stopped, a symphony of voices rose up again and Jax bellowed. <What the hell was that!?> Albert didn’t respond. <Al!!! What was that?> The voice boomed.

Jax commanded an answer that shook Albert out of his confused state. He had never heard Jax speak like that before. He was always a pompous ass, pushy and demanding, but this was different. It was base like he had never heard before and it shook him violently for just a moment.

Albert finally answered. “It’s a necklace. An old, ugly one.”

<A necklace?> Jax voice was normal again.

“Yes, a necklace. What’s your problem?”


Thank you so much for your time Christy! If you would like to find out more about Christy and her writing endeavours, check out the links below.



Life On Your Terms Project:

Facebook Author Page:

Twitter: @cmannauthor





The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Dan Weatherer

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Dan. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?


Dan – I’m from Staffordshire, which is a small county in the centre of England. It’s famous for Alton Towers, Arnold Bennett and a local dish known as an Oatcake.

I started writing full time five years ago after being made redundant from my office based job. I became a full-time dad to my daughter (then aged three) and decided to try creative writing in what little downtime I had.

My first short story was based on a local myth that had always captured my interest. ‘The Legend of the Chained Oak’ was picked up for publication by Scath Beorh (Haunted Magazine), and it all kind of snowballed from there!


Stacey – You’re not only an author but a playwright and screenwriter, as well. Which is quite impressive. What inspired you to make the leap from books to screen?


Dan – The first film happened completely by chance and only came to fruition because of the dedication of the individuals involved in the project. Again, this project was based on my first story, ‘The Legend of the Chained Oak’.

I heard that a film producer had previously attempted to make a film based on the legend, and, filled with the new found confidence a first publication instills, I approached him and pitched my story.

I wrote a screenplay that incorporated aspects of my original short story, but took place in the present.

A lot of people worked hard for free on the film, and we were fortunate to win several awards. The film has since played at festivals worldwide, and I recently sold distribution rights to the Found Footage Critic channel.

I have written several other screenplays, and have seen a stage play of mine adapted to film. ‘Beige’ can be viewed on the British Comedy Guide Website. (Don’t let the comedy aspect fool you – the film is suitably twisted!)

I recently penned a book detailing my experiences as a novice playwright. The Dead Stage, is out now courtesy of Crystal Lake Publishing and contains a wealth of advice for aspiring playwrights.


Stacey – You’ve also collected quite a few awards according to your website. I couldn’t help but see the Bram Stoker award amongst them. What was it like to be honoured in such a way?


Dan – We did win a Bram Stoker for ‘Legend of the Chained Oak’, but it is not the HWA Bram Stoker Award. (I’m still working hard towards that achievement!)

The award we won was presented by the now-defunct Bram Stoker International Film Festival, which took place in Whitby (Dracula fans will understand why) every autumn.

We received the Best short award. The trophy is truly unique, and sits on my desk, reminding me of a time when the words flowed!


Stacey – Which author or playwright living or dead inspires you?


Dan – When I first started to write, Poe, Barker and Lovecraft were a source of great inspiration to me.

As I began to develop my voice, I looked at the work and influence of Arnold Bennett, who is the area’s most prominent author. Bennett inspires me to create opportunities for others; the area I am from is regarded as one of the poorest areas in the country, where literacy rates are low, and unemployment is high.

I work extensively in the local community to promote the art of creative writing and helped initiate both the Arnold Bennett Literary prize and A Poet Laureate for Stoke on Trent.


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


Dan – Absolutely. I imagine most writers do. My stories contain elements of my life, good times and bad, as well as the hopes and dreams I harbor for my children.


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing? Do you write daily?


Dan – I don’t write daily. I don’t believe writing should be forced. I wait until I “feel” there is a story to be written. It can take a while…it seems to take longer these days, but I’m in no rush. I’m thirty-nine and believe I have many more tales to tell.


Stacey – Where do you write? Indoors? Outdoors?


Dan – I write from my bedroom. I have a desk with a PC, several notebooks, various bits of stationary and whatever the children have left for me to puzzle over that day.

At one time I had a dedicated office, with a shelf full of oddities I have collected over the years (a memento mori brooch, an electro-shock treatment machine, an infant vampire model etc.), but with an expanding family, space was at a premium and my daughter moved into the room.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


Dan – I have to write in silence. I cannot concentrate if there is any noise. I can’t even edit to music! I don’t notice however as when I work I become totally engrossed to the point of it mentally exhausting me!


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


Dan – Ignore what everybody else is doing and write your way. Once finished, leave it to settle a while – you’ll know when to come back for the rewrite because you won’t be able to think about anything else.

Also, don’t strive for perfection, because it is an unreachable goal. Work towards producing a piece of writing you feel is a decent representation of your efforts.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


Dan – I hate to admit, but I’m really bad for this. I find it hard to keep my attention on anything for long. I think this is why I write in short, sharp bursts.

I find collections much easier to finish than novels. I hate to admit it, but I STILL haven’t finished Stephen King’s IT.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


Dan – The Thing, this past Halloween. I saw it as a child and it terrified me. It still stands up today (as does any decent horror film). The film absolutely nails the atmosphere of distrust. Also, it is still suitably gross.


Stacey – What scares you?


Dan – I fear something bad happening to my children more than any threat that may come my way. I think any parent does.


Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?


Dan – No, in the sense that if you have nothing to write about, you just need time to go and do other things. Ideas come and go. I find that an idea needs time to settle internally before I will begin the process of writing it. Those times between ideas? Some might call it writers’ block, but I prefer to look at it as your mind having a cooling off period.


Stacey – What are 5 things you cannot live without?


Dan – My family, my imagination-Fuel (I don’t drink coffee) painkillers (I suffer awful migraines) and laughter.


Stacey – Out of your own works, which is your favourite and why?


Dan – Surely the most difficult question of all! I have to say it is always my most recent work because I like to believe I improve with each release. That may not be the case, but a positive outlook is a must if you want to succeed as a writer.


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


Dan – I recently finished a story that I wrote for my children. ‘The Necessary Evils’ is a story about two kids who find the entrance to Hell at the bottom of their grandmother’s garden. (The story is a horror of sorts, although nothing bad happens to or is witnessed by the children.) The piece is a comment on the evaporation of innocence, and it is currently with my agent.

My debut novel, The Tainted Isle: English Gothic, is released next Spring courtesy of PS Publishing. The book follows the cases of the UK’s first paranormal investigator, Solomon Whyte, and is based on many, lesser known UK legends.

I’ve also a further novel and novella that I am hoping to place soon!


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Dan – Please enjoy this recent short that appeared in my regional newspaper’s Halloween edition!




In the heart of England, lies a forest spanning several hundred square kilometres. Hidden among the birch and bracken of Cannock Chase, are (among other, older things) a disused World War Two airfield, an abandoned 17th century village (complete with cottages, chapel, and a set of wooden stocks), and an unusually shaped rock formation known locally as the Moss-Firth Tower, which can be seen from several miles away.


There is no doubting the area’s natural beauty, though few locally venture into the woodlands by day, and all do their utmost to avoid the area entirely by night.


A legend attached to the Chase, tells the tale of a young girl, whom, pregnant and afraid, was driven from her home amidst accusations of witchcraft. With nowhere else to go, she gave birth in a secluded glade, far enough from the village so that the painful cries of childbirth would be swallowed by the forest.


The baby, cursed with Witch’s blood, was born hideously disfigured. Knowing the community would look upon her son as an omen of ill luck, the girl chose to abandon the child beneath the shadow of Moss-Firth Tower. Praying that the woodland spirits who dwelled there would accept her gift to them, she returned to the village to repent of her evil ways.


The following winter, the girl succumbed to a fever, taking the secret of her son’s fate to her grave.


It was around this time that stories of a fearsome creature began to spread throughout the village. Massive in size and with hideous, pig-like facial features, the beast had been seen skulking in the tree line, watching the children play.


Over the following months, several livestock were taken in the dead of night; their grisly remains found strewn across the ground.


There followed an unseasonably harsh winter, and amidst stories of children disappearing into the woodland never to return, the village was abandoned.


Centuries passed, and untouched by man, the forest grew dense and the secrets of the village and its surrounding area were buried beneath impenetrable brushwood. It remained unexplored until recently, when a group of scouts visited on retreat, with the intention of camping through the night. Of the fourteen boys that entered the forest, only one was to leave.


The surviving boy claimed that, after a day spent wading through streams, climbing trees, and making leaf rubbings, the group, in good spirits, pitched camp near to Moss-Firth Tower. As they settled around the campfire, enjoying their toasted marshmallows and a shared ghost story or two, talk turned to legends of the Chase. Arkela, having been born nearby, began to recount the tale of Pigman, known to all locally as a foul beast, born of the devil’s bride, abandoned and left to forage in the woodlands, several centuries ago.


Arkela stated that many believed Pigman to be responsible for numerous disappearances throughout the Chase’s history (disappearances that scarcely made the headlines, but were well documented in regional folklore) and that attempts to capture the creature had proven futile. He added that Pigman could be summoned by the recital of a rhyme popular in local playgrounds. So long as you were located somewhere within the confines of the Chase, and were sat near to an open fire, saying the rhyme aloud would coax Pigman from hiding.


As boys will be boys, they dared Arkela to recite the rhyme aloud:


“Pigman, you’ve no family,


None love you, that I can see,


Pigman, such a tragedy,


Won’t you come and play with me?”


According to the boy, there was a long silence, where only the crackle and spit of the fire could be heard.  The boys looked at one another, nervously waiting for someone to speak, fearing something dreadful might happen if they did not.


It was then that a pitched squeal erupted from behind them, and from the shadows came a lumbering shape, its flesh slick with sweat, its pinprick eyes reflecting fury and fire, its snout-like nose, twitching, and its yellowed tusks dripping with saliva.

It squealed a second time, flinging an upturned tree stump in the air as it did so, flinging lumps of damp soil this way and that.


The Scouts fled, scuttling off in all directions, but the boy, transfixed by terror, remained. The creature ignored him, its attention focused firmly on the fleeing scouts. To its left, one of the smaller scouts had fallen, his ankle caught among a tangle of shrubs. The creature lumbered towards him, and, with a sickening pop, brought a gargantuan fist crashing down onto his head.


It was at this point that the surviving member of the scouts passed out. When he came too, the camp was completely ransacked. Torn tents and a mix of personal belongings littered the clearing. Among them was a small, blue teddy bear, its seams split down one side, the exposed stuffing matted with blood.


It is said that Pigman’s squeals can still be heard echoing through the forest, should you pass their outer limits after sundown. Ask locally after the creature and many will laugh in your face, and call you a fool. Ask them to join with you on a walk through the forest, however, and they will quickly fall silent.


If you are to take away anything from this tale, heed this warning: if you feel eyes upon you while braving the woodland of Cannock Chase, if you hear a shrill squeal and a rustle of bushes, then, by all means, do be afraid. Tremble, cry, even close your eyes; but do not run, for those that do seldom survive the Pigman of The Chase.



Thank you so much for your time Dan! If you would like to find out more about Dan and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.


The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Eric Ian Steele

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Eric. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?


I am a screenwriter and novelist from Manchester, England, having written the scifi feature film “Clone Hunter” and the thriller feature film “The Student”. I’m also the author of two horror fiction novels, “The Autumn Man” and “Experiment Nine”, and a short story collection titled “Nightscape”. As well as that, I’ve had short stories published in numerous print and online magazines and anthologies.


Stacey – What first drew you to screenwriting?


Looking back, I think it was a culmination of a long process. I’ve always been fascinated with movies since seeing “Flash Gordon” at the cinema as a kid. I was amazed by the cinema’s power to draw you into a completely different world for an hour and a half. A lifelong love of comic books has also given me a very visual imagination. I used to write screenplays based on my favourite books and comics, without ever thinking that they might lead to anything. Maybe I was subconsciously honing my art. But it wasn’t until I had been writing prose fiction for quite some time that I seriously considered screenwriting. Then the Internet happened, and all of a sudden getting scripts to people in Hollywood was a possibility. The people I sent my scripts to seemed to actually like them… and it just happened from there.


Stacey – What is your favourite holiday spot?


Easy. The USA. It beats everywhere else, hands down. I’ve been to Florida, the Keys, New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Every time I go somewhere new in the States it surprises me. The USA has such incredible diversity of culture. I recently went to New Orleans and that was a blast, touring the cemeteries, seeing the Garden District mansions and the French Quarter was superb. I can still taste that food…


Stacey – What’s one place real or imagined that you’d love to travel to?


Hmm. Maybe I should say the Planet Mongo. I really don’t know. There are so many places, even in the real world, that I’d like to see. I’ve always wanted to drive Route 66. Maybe one day…


Stacey – Which author living or dead inspires you?


My favourite prose author is Charles Dickens for his fantastic characters, his vitality, his imagination and his empathy with all manner of people, rich and poor, good and wicked. I’m also a huge fan of William Blake, the poet, both for his incredible visionary style and also for his insights into the human consciousness. In terms of genre authors, as a scifi and horror writer I’d have to say HP Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker and Philip K Dick. Oh, there’s so many…


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


Sometimes. I spent twelve years in law enforcement. Those experiences do inform my “real-life” writing when I need to insert some believable details, such as when I’m writing thrillers or characters who work in the law. Other times I’ll walk past a creepy house and put that in a story. My werewolf novel “The Autumn Man” was set in a fictional town very much like Stalybridge in Greater Manchester, where I used to work. Many of the places in that novel are based on ones I walked past every day. So I’m a bit of a sponge in that respect. However, “Project Nine” is set in places I’ve never been to, such as Iowa and Kansas. I’ve also had some stories, such as “Cycle” in my collection “Nightscape”, that came to me fully formed in a dream. And I guess all our characters are drawn from aspects of our own psyche. So the short answer is: sometimes, to an extent.


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing? Do you write daily?


Making a living from it! Seriously, though, I do try to write daily, although I don’t always succeed. I don’t believe in writing “rules”, so I don’t believe that you absolutely have to write every single day. Why should you? Nor do I believe that you should wait for inspiration to strike. Instead I follow the Jerry Seinfeld method: every day try to do something that furthers your career in some way. If you can do that at least you know that you are moving forwards.


Stacey – Where do you write? Indoors? Outdoors?


Indoors. With as few distractions as possible.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


I can write in silence but I prefer music. Usually, I select a piece of music for each story and every time I sit down to write I put that music on in the background. Ambient noise is good. I’m a big Tangerine Dream fan, so it’s usually something from them. But when I was writing a murder mystery set in 1980s Hollywood I had a big list of 80s rock tracks that I played over and over! Anything that helps evoke the mood and atmosphere you are after works for me. That way when I sit down to write the music helps me get back into the story.


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


Finish what you start. So many people talk about writing without having finished a single story. You have to finish it — whatever “it” is. If you can do that, then you are by definition a writer.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


A few. There are some books that I started and then had to stop and then I went back to them later and finished it, such as Jack Ketchum’s “The Girl Next Door”, which is pretty rough going, and PK Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, because it was so different from the film that at first it threw me. But I came back to them both. I’m not a fan of enormous, hard sci-fi novels that read like dry, academic textbooks. If I haven’t finished a book, it’s probably one of those.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


Ha ha. Easy: “Re-Animator”. I watched it last night on the big screen at Grimmfest in Manchester then went to a Q&A with one of its stars, Barbara Crampton. And yes, I still enjoyed it.


Stacey – What scares you?


Real life. People. Death. The usual.


Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?


I’ve never suffered from it so I don’t know. It’s like ghosts and aliens; enough people have encountered them to make me think there’s something to it.  If anything I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them down. Sometimes I’ll struggle to find out how best to start a story or to continue it, but if I sleep on it and go write something else or maybe take a long walk the answer will come to me in the end.




Stacey – What are 5 things you cannot live without


  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Air
  4. Coffee
  5. Films


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


A couple of things. Screenplay-wise I’m currently re-writing a small-town thriller script for a YA audience. I’m also working on a scifi TV pilot. And I’ve just been asked to adapt a bestselling crime novel for the screen. Novel-wise I have a supernatural horror project that’s been ongoing for a while, that’s partly set in the 1980s and partly set in the present day. And of course there’s also the short stories…


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


You can read a complete section of my latest novel, “Experiment Nine” for free on Amazon, here:


Or you can read a shorter excerpt on my blog at


Thank you so much for your time Eric! If you would like to find out more about Eric and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.









The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with James H. Longmore

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, James. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?


James – Hi – thank you for the opportunity!

Well, I’m a Yorkshireman living in Houston – eight years and counting – I have a couple of offspring and a house full of animals, and I spend my time writing and managing HellBound Books Publishing along with my business partner, Xtina Marie.


Stacey – What is your favourite holiday spot?


James – I’ve been to the Dominican Republic a couple of times, I guess that’s kind of a favorite. Oh, and I love Vegas, and New Orleans!


Stacey – What’s one place real or imagined that you’d love to travel to?


James – I’m looking forward to visiting New York!


Stacey – Which author living or dead inspires you?


James – My first introduction to grown-up, modern horror was the late, great James Herbert; he was my first inspiration to write. I also enjoy King, Ketchum, Hill and a bunch of indie authors.


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


James – I think that all writers do – there’s a little piece of me in everything I write! The skill, of course, is discerning which pieces they are…


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing? Do you write daily?


James – I find the whole thing challenging; there is nothing quite so exhilarating – or terrifying – than facing that blank page with the sole objective of filling it with something entertaining. Yep, I write daily, even if it’s a few lines – keeps the old noggin active.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


James – All of my school reports, from the age of five onwards state just how easily distracted I am – if I were to try writing with music on, I’d wind up listening to that instead of working, or my brain would wander away with the lyrics, or the memories the tune evokes…


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


James – Learn how to take criticism. Solicit it, take it on the chin, embrace it – and, most importantly of all, learn from it!

Oh, and learn the tools of your trade! Saying ‘I don’t really need to understand Word/grammar/punctuation/spelling’ is like declaring ‘I’m going to be a car mechanic – with a spoon’.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


James – There have been a few – I do get bored rather easily, and if I’m not engaged within the first few pages, I give up. Life’s too short to plough through books that don’t catch the interest, right? I apply this to my work, and always aim to grab the reader by the short and curlies from the very first line.

To name and shame a recent one – it was one of Anne Rice’s! After twenty pages of description of New Orleans I was well and truly beaten!


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


James – The Unfolding, a neat little indie film. It’s a found footage/haunted house movie with a neat twist.


Stacey – What scares you?


James – Nothing imaginary – I really don’t spook easily. What does frighten me is the thought of anything unpleasant happening to my offspring, but I guess that’s a given for any parent. And Donald Trump, now, he really scares me!


Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?


James – I do!

I’ve experienced it myself, and for me, it’s not just the inability to put the words down, it’s the mind-paralysing state of being unable to even think, which for a writer is pretty much creative death. Luckily it passes, although it could take days, weeks, months, even longer – and unfortunately, there’s no quick remedy to ‘snap out of it’.


Stacey – You run your own publishing company, HellBound Books? What’s that like?


James – I do – we are in our second year now, and doing well! It’s hard work, but, thanks to a great team, it’s fun. The best thing has been having the platform to take all of the lousy experiences – common to a great many authors – I’ve personally had at the hands of some indie publishers, turn them on their head, and provide an exemplary service to authors and readers alike.

We set out to do everything properly and professionally from the off – hence we’re a fully-fledged LLC – and have built up a formidable catalogue of fantastic titles, as well as a great reputation. And, we just launched our awesome, brand new website!


Stacey – I find radio to be an interesting medium? How did you get started and why did you decide to mix Horror and Comedy?


James – Yeah, it’s funny how things have come back around to radio again – many indie publishers have their own radio/blog/podcasts going on, it’s a terrific medium to reach readers and authors alike.

I stumbled into it by accident, I was invited onto a show as a guest by a publisher who took on my bizarro novel ‘The Erotic Odyssey of Colton Forshay’ and had such a great time that they asked me to co-present (everybody loves the accent!). Then, that publisher went south, and I kind of inherited the show. I rejigged it, added the fun bits, changed the show time, and the rest is history – that was 109 shows ago!

I am, at heart, a bit of a comedian – I’ve even written and performed stand-up, both in the UK and here (I’ve even performed at the world famous ‘Improv’!), and there’s always a fat grain of dark humor in everything I write. We wanted our radio show to stand out from the crowd, so we set out to make it fun and entertaining – the very antithesis of a ‘dry’ book show. So, we throw in a load of humor, some entertaining sound clips, ribald banter, and fun things for our guests (their most embarrassing story, for example, or our renowned ‘Eleven Questions’ segment which includes the question ‘would you eat human flesh, if permitted to do so’ – you’d be surprise at some of the answers!)

Oh, and we invested in an ASCAP licence too, so we have some phenomenal tunes to boot!


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


James – I typically have a handful of projects going on at any one time – I’ve just finished up my short story (The Swarm) for the HellBound Books’ upcoming anthology ‘Made in Britain’, as well as polishing up a short for ‘Shopping List 3’ (Revenge of the Mice Men), and working through the nth draft of my next novel, based upon a short story in my collection ‘Blood and Kisses’, which is entitled ‘The Silverado Springs Memory Care Posse’, it’s about a quartet of elderly dementia patients trying to discover who – or what – is killing off the residents at their care home before it gets to them…


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


James – Sure thing:

Lewis chewed on the last of his bacon. It was satisfying enough although it felt rough and salty in his mouth and split into slivers like shards of rubbery glass. As he munched, he contemplated the notebook that sat by his left hand. It was a pleasant, light gray Moleskine; half letter sized and with a broad strip of black elastic to hold it shut. The elastic reminded him of the suspenders his Grandfather used to wear to keep his pants up.

“I think it’s yours,” Constance told him.

“Why’s that?” Lewis said.

“Because it’s by your place at the table,” Constance replied before cottoning on to Lewis’s joke.

“He got ya good there, Connie, old girl!” Muldoon guffawed and almost choked on his slurp of tea.

Lewis winked at Constance and she pursed her lips at him to pretend that she was disgruntled. He picked up the notebook and was surprised that its covers felt velvety beneath his fingers, much as he would have imagined an actual mole’s would feel. Perhaps, he couldn’t help but wonder, they actually made the things from real moles?

Upon opening the book, Lewis discovered that there was a name written in neat, black ink on the inside cover. The handwriting and the name looked surprisingly familiar, but it took a minute or two for it to filter through his muddled brain cells that both belonged to him.

“It is mine,” Lewis informed his breakfast companions with a grin. “Look, it says Lewis Jones right here.” He lifted the book up and turned it around to show them his name and the writing below it that was in an altogether different hand.

Happy Birthday Grandpa.

A tear formed in Lewis’s eye and a sick lump rose up in the back of his throat. He was a grandfather, and therefore by default, a father too. He had family out there in the world and he couldn’t remember a damned thing, and at that particular moment, Lewis would have given anything to have had even the faintest glimmer of a memory of them.

Constance reached for Lewis’s hand and held it whilst he struggled with his emotions. It had been this same way every morning for as long as she could recall – Lewis discovering as if for the first time that he had a family. For Constance, the saddest thing of all – other than watch the man she cared for deeply facing the same pain anew every single day – was that Lewis’s loving son, daughter-in-law and three beautiful granddaughters visited him every week and he was always so incredibly happy in their company.

And Lewis’s cruel brain, in common with hers and Muldoon’s deteriorating gray matter, would misplace those precious memories overnight whilst he slept.

Which is why things were written down in that book, otherwise everything would have been forgotten.

Lewis flicked through the notebook, his eyes darting to and fro across the tightly written handwriting that filled almost two-thirds of the silken pages. His brow would furrow in a quizzical expression when he happened upon places where the occasional page or two had been torn out.

Muldoon peered across the breakfast table, slurping on his cold tea with all the finesse of a buffalo at the watering hole. “So?” he enquired. “What’s in the book, Lewis?” He strained his eyes to try reading the neatly printed words upside down. “And what’s that supposed to mean?” He jabbed a long, bony finger towards the book, to what he guessed was the title written in block capital lettering at the top of each and every page.

The Silverado Springs Memory Care Posse,” Lewis read out loud the neatly printed words.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Muldoon wrinkled up his nose as if he’d caught a whiff of something particularly disgusting.

“I think it’s us.” Lewis looked his old friend straight in the eye. “Yeah, it’s us alright – look.” He spun the book around on the stained cotton tablecloth and pointed at one of its pages.

Muldoon and Constance leaned in to catch a better look. Constance had to lift up her chin to see through the bottom part of her narrow spectacles.

“Chuck Rifkin?” Muldoon looked perplexed. “Who the heck is Chuck Rifkin?” He nodded at a list of names in the center of the right-hand page.

“Janey Martinez, now that does ring a vague bell,” Constance mused and closed her eyes in order to search for the memory that she simply knew was skulking in some far corner of her head somewhere.

“Smiler’s name is on the list, too.” Lewis ran his finger down the half dozen names that were all written in meticulous cursive. “Whitey Muldoon – that’s you, I guess?” he said to Muldoon. “And this one is me.” Lewis appeared pleased to have recognized his own name for the first time, although he’d only just seen it a minute or so ago at the front of the book.

“And that one is me.” Constance was back with them, the fuzzy image of her erstwhile friend Janey Martinez still loitering on the periphery of her mind; pretty much all she could recall was that Janey had died, although that could have been years ago.

Or yesterday.

“So, why are those ones crossed out?” Muldoon reached over the table and poked a finger at the first three names on the list.

There were thin, straight pencil lines through the names ‘Chuck’, ‘Janey’ and ‘Smiler’ which looked as if they had been drawn with the aid of a ruler.



Thank you so much for your time James! If you would like to find out more about James and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.



The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Jim Goforth

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Jim. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?


Jim – Salutations, Stacey, and cheers for having me here. Predominantly, I am a husband and father, but in addition to that I am a horror author. Formerly based in Sydney, I now reside in Albury where I maintain a full-time job along with writing. I’m also an editor and run WetWorks, which is the extreme horror and bizarro imprint of J. Ellington Ashton Press. I’m a massive heavy metal aficionado, in particular the extreme subgenres (black and death), and often cross-pollinate my horror writing with forays into musical realms.


Stacey – As a complete novice to extreme metal music, what drew you to it in the first place. Was it a band or a particular song?


Jim – My passion for extreme metal runs in some ways parallel to my passion for horror. As an impressionable youngster I gravitated towards dark elements in both fiction and music early, and constantly expanded my search for new heavier, and horrific things. I grew up with music always playing in my household, as well as always having books around, so I cultivated an appreciation for all kinds of both. Reading was encouraged, appreciating music too, and as I delved deeper into heavy metal, and grew up with it, I discovered a penchant for the more extreme side of things. This went hand in hand with my explorations of horror, and an affinity with all of it. No particular bands or songs played major parts since I was into a very wide spread of acts from all over the world, but I certainly have an abundance of favourites.


Stacey – Was music what drew you into writing Horror or was there some other influence?


Jim – Music has always been influential and inspirational, not just metal, but all different types, but it wasn’t what served as any catalyst for writing horror. When I first started writing stories-which happened not too long after I learned to read-I was writing all kinds of different things in a vast array of genres. Back then of course, as a kid, I didn’t have too much of an idea of genres, but I have written tales that could be considered fantasy, science fiction, urban, I even used to write Westerns. What was the principal inspiration for all of this was reading. I read a hell of a lot of books of all types of genres, and I was often inspired to write my own tales. As I did with music, gravitating towards the heavier side of things, my reading tastes soon included horror, and while I continued to read an assortment of different genres, it was horror that became my prime obsession. My stories reflected that as a result, and soon enough I realised writing horror was exactly what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be.


Stacey – You have quite an impressive list of titles under your belt according to Amazon. How long have you been writing?


Jim – I’ve been writing forever it seems like, and essentially that is true. As I made mention of before, I started writing not long after I learned to read. As a kid I didn’t just write stories though, I actually made my own books, drew my own illustrations, synopsis, covers, the whole lot.  I wrote stories, poetry, lyrics, a couple of novels through my high school years, and then continued to write on and off in one form or another throughout all the years following that.

In terms of actually being published however, that didn’t happen until early 2014 when my first book Plebs emerged. That came after a fairly long period where I wasn’t writing horror fiction at all, but was involved in other pursuits, such as working in the extreme metal scenes. Considering this involved writing reviews and so forth I was still technically writing, though not in any fiction capacity.


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


Jim – I draw inspiration from just about anything. I wouldn’t exactly say I have written too much based around my real-life experiences, not in any great detail or focus in any event, but rather a case of taking snippets here and there to enhance other stories.

I find inspiration everywhere. From daily events, to a random piece of conversation heard in passing, from news headlines to music, anything at all. One of my favourite methods of conjuring up a story is to merely find a single image-old houses are often a great source-and create an entire tale based around that sole picture. My novel The Sleep was largely conceived and written in this manner. The image that appears on the cover is the very one that the whole book was based around.

Other books and stories have drawn inspiration from all manner of sources, though any real life experiences or personal experiences of mine would be well blended in with themes and subjects of a far more fictional nature.


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing?


Jim – My greatest challenge in writing is finding enough time to write everything that I want to write. There are never enough hours in the day, and even as fast as I often write, I’m still being bombarded with ideas for other projects I want to get to work on. I almost always work on multiple projects at any given time, but even so, there’s never enough time.


Stacey – Do you write daily?


Jim – Yes, I do. How much I get written each day is variable, but I do make a point of writing something every day. Now and then for various reasons I might happen to miss a day here and there, but as a general rule I do write every day.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


Jim – Either works just fine. I often write to a soundtrack of music which runs the gamut through the expected range of different metal genres, to sixties rock, industrial, even dance music, horrorcore, old school rap, all kinds of things. Other times I have no music at all, but that doesn’t essentially mean I’m writing in complete silence. With two little kids running around the house, there is rarely anything resembling complete silence. I’m attuned to just focusing on whatever it is I’m working on regardless of the surrounding sounds or background noise.


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


Jim – This will be the same advice I’ve given each time I’m asked this, and that is because I maintain the same stance there; it never changes.

If you want to write, or love to write, then just write. Write what you want to write, how you want.

I’ll expand on this a little and add something which may or may not work for everybody, since each person has their own method of approaching writing. If you’re aiming to tell a story, then tell the whole story before worrying about whether it is perfect. It’s entirely up to each writer whether they want to edit as they go, but personally I never do, and never have. Sitting around agonising over a line or a paragraph, then going back over and over it multiple times, rephrasing, restructuring, completely altering it or what-have-you as you write tends to stunt the flow of the story and might ultimately end in you never getting anything finished.  If you have the story in your head, get it out, and then concern yourself with beating it into shape if it so requires.

After all, first drafts exist for a reason.

In addition to that, I’ll toss this out there too. If you haven’t already got a thick skin, then be prepared to cultivate one. Whatever it is you write isn’t going to appeal to everybody, and there are always going to be myriad critiques and opinions floating around, so be ready to take all that in your stride.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


Jim – To be honest I can’t think of any book I couldn’t finish reading. If I start something I usually persevere with it, even if it isn’t really captivating or holding my attention. It will take a whole lot longer to finish reading than a book that does keep me fixated, where I might go weeks or longer in between periods of reading it, but generally it does get completed.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


Jim – The Autopsy of Jane Doe.


Stacey – What scares you?


Jim – Aside from something untoward happening to my kids and family, nothing really. I don’t scare easily.


Stacey – From the Vault is a collection of poetry and lyrics? Which is more rewarding? Poetry or Short Stories?


Jim – Writing stories and novels, novellas etc. is definitely where my main writing passion lies, so consequently, they are much more rewarding to me. In actuality, I haven’t written anything in the way of poetry or lyrics for many, many moons. From the Vault is quite literally from the vault. It is comprised of a collective of lyrics, songs, and poems which were all written way back in the mists of time. With the exception of a handful of them, they haven’t previously been published, so while they’re all quite old to me, they will be largely new to everybody else. I have a pretty sizeable assemblage of poems (all of which were originally written as lyrics), so this probably won’t be the only collection of its kind to surface. There will be others some time down the track, and since I have a body of unpublished novels, stories and so forth also written way back in the day, they too might be on the agenda to appear at some stage in the future.


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


Jim – As usual I’m working on myriad projects. They include Plebs 3, numerous other collections, a couple of novellas and several other novels. They’ll all jostle for the main focus of my attention until one wins out and I end up spending most of the time aiming to complete it. I’d like to say that will be Plebs 3, but we’ll see how that pans out. Anything can, and usually does, happen.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Jim – No, I seldom, if ever, share excerpts of unpublished work. I know there are plenty out there who do for an assortment of reasons, and if that’s what they choose to do, that’s their prerogative, but personally I never really understood the logic behind it. Sharing an unedited excerpt, which anything of mine would be, considering I don’t edit as I go, I get the story written first, means that excerpt might not even make it to the final product, it might be wholly changed, restructured, you name it. I appreciate why some might want to share their work before it reaches the stage of publishing, but it’s not something I do.


Thank you so much for your time Jim! If you would like to find out more about Jim and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.