Guest Post: John Nicholl

 

I write darkly psychological suspense thrillers, which draw heavily on my experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker. I guess, given my career, the genre chose me. I’ve written five books to date, and I’m currently working on the sixth, which I hope to finish by the end of the summer. I wrote a multi-agency child protection procedural manual, and articles for local newspapers and a national social work magazine during my working life, but White is the Coldest Colour was my first work of fiction.

 

I had a lot of time on my hands after leaving my post heading up child protection services for the county of Carmarthenshire in beautiful West Wales, and one day I decided to sit down and give it a go. I felt driven to complete it once I’d started, although I have to admit that it was a steep learning curve. I seriously considered deleting the entire manuscript more than once. The book took two years to complete with the able assistance of two professional editors, the second of whom understood what I was trying to achieve and made a valuable contribution to the end result. Writing it was somewhat cathartic in the main, although it did sometimes engender vivid memories that were, perhaps, best left in the past. By far the hardest thing was conveying such a brutal plot line without including any gratuitous or graphic detail. Achieving that end was very important to me, and I wouldn’t have published the book unless satisfied I’d succeeded in that regard. Fortunately, the majority of reviewers seem to agree.The book is intended primarily as an entertaining and tense thriller, but I also hope it conveys an important cautionary message to readers: be careful who you trust. Be very careful whom you trust. It contains content that some readers may find distressing from the very first page, and is dedicated to survivors of child abuse everywhere. It won’t be a book for everybody.

When Evil Calls Your Name, my second novel, is a sequel, although it can be read as a standalone. The book is written in a very different style to White, as if by Cynthia, the main character, in the form of a personal journal whilst serving a prison sentence. It is again primarily intended as an interesting read, but I hope it also goes some way to communicating the insidious negative effects of psychological and physical domestic violence on its victims. Some reviewers have thought that the book was written by Cynthia herself, one even saying that she was brave to write it given the horrendous things she went through. I find that gratifying. It’s intended to be a raw and realistic book, that while entirely fictional, was inspired by real events, as was the case for White. There are far too many real life Cynthia’s out there in the world, who suffer violence at the hands of men on a regular basis. I hope that the book plays a small part in bringing attention to what is still largely a taboo subject. Not everything is as it seems, and don’t be too quick to judge.

 

My third book, Portraits of the Dead, is a serial killer thriller full of twists and turns. Like my other two books, it’s set in Wales, which I think makes sense given that I spent the majority of my career working in my home country. I find it easier to write from experience, and I hope it gives the books an authentic air of gritty realism. Like all my books, it’s available as an ebook, paperback and audiobook. It’s also due to be published as a paperback and hardback in Hungarian in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

My fourth book, Bully boy Blue, is a high tension novella that tells the story of a woman who goes to extreme lengths to escape her violent police officer husband. I’ve been incredibly lucky in that sales of my books have been better than I could have hoped. Each have become Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the UK, Spain, France, Australia, Canada and the USA. I’d encourage anyone who’s considering writing a book to give it a go. The publishing world is changing fast and it’s never been easier to make your book available for purchase. Produce a quality product, send it to potential reviewers, and let the reading public decide if your book is worth buying and reading. You may well surprise yourself.

 

 

 

My new novel, A Mind To Kill, is available on Amazon now, with a 5 August release date. It’s a female revenge thriller: A ‘Death Wish’ for the modern world. They kill innocence. She wants revenge. When Rebecca’s childhood abuser escapes justice it sets her on path to revenge. Revenge on any man who preys on the innocence. Early Goodreads reviews have been better than I could have hoped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon link: A Mind to Kill

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Website: I’m always happy to hear from readers and bloggers, and I can be contacted via my author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com
Rights enquiries should be directed to Mr Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA: http://tma-agency.com

Karen Runge – Seeing Double Review

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

As a fan of Karen Runge’s short stories, including “Going Home” and “High Art”, I was really looking forward to reading Seeing Double. What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of sex and violence, which was more than I usually find myself reading. I know, I know, I read horror, but this book is packed with this stuff. I don’t scare or offend easily but sometimes a book just hits your buttons in the right order to cause overload. This is where I found myself with the provocative and edgy dialog, and more than I’m typically comfortable with. Each interaction and paragraph is laced with sexual tension. The story is full of innuendos and images that show us how Ada grew up and there is considerable time spent on character development.

Seeing Double explored the world of pleasure and pain. What each meant to the person giving or receiving it. The book pushed my comfort level and made me look at this alternative way of living. I had to set aside what I considered ‘normal’ and live in Karen’s world while she shared her creativity. As I continued down the rabbit hole I found the story is about more than the sexual tension and encounters. It’s the excitement and thrill of doing something you’re not sure you should. It’s hearing the small voice and telling yourself, ‘why the hell not’. The story has a great ebb and flow that makes for an easy read. Karen is known for pushing the boundaries and for her unsettling style of fiction, and this describes Seeing Double to a tee. If you can get past the overt sexual and explicit content the story is pretty enjoyable.

Book Info

Length: 232 Pages

Publisher: Grey Matter Press

Release date: July 25, 2017

To Purchase Seeing Double Click Here

Even monsters can love…

A trio of expats living in Asia form a tenuous bond based on mutual attraction, sexual obsession and the insatiable desire to experience the deadliest of thrills.

As their relationship matures, the dangerous love triangle in which they’ve become entwined quickly escalates into a series of brutal sexual conquests as they struggle to deal with lives out of control and the debilitating psychological effects of mental and physical abuse.

Known for her distinct brand of unsettling fiction, author Karen Runge is at the top of the modern horror game in this, her premiere novel. SEEING DOUBLE is a beautifully evocative and stunningly dark coming-of-age exploration of human sexuality and the roles of masculinity and feminism, polyamorous relationships, social and psychological isolation, and the humiliation of ultimate betrayal.

Karen Runge, biography

Karen Runge is a horror writer, sometimes an artist, and teaches adults English as a second language. Several of her short stories have been published in her collection Seven Sins. And two of her short stories appear in Grey Matter Press anthologies Savage Beasts and Death’s Realm. Jack Ketchum once told her: “Karen, you scare me.”

My Joy of Story by Robert E. Dunn

I’m not compelled to write. That’s something you hear from many authors, that they need to write or that they write because they feel they must. That’s not me. My compulsions are more toward story than writing. Ask my kids. I can’t just tell them something. I always end up telling them a story about why this or who that. Often they are about having had to walk five miles in the snow with baked potatoes in my pockets to keep my hands warm and those potatoes were my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You get the idea. Heck, I sometimes paint, write poetry, and lie to people for fun. If I could carry a tune I would be more than happy as a musician and never mess with books. I don’t need to write but I need to express.

For me it’s about story and stories. The thing about that is, it leads me to other stories, different kinds, different people, and different viewpoints. I love stories. There’s the difference between me and some other writers. Difference here is not a value judgement and I won’t disparage other writers for their choices. But so many writers I meet and interact with through social media are fixed to their genre. And I’ve come to feel that is in the nature of our love or our needs—for writing or for storytelling.

There aren’t any absolutes. I think we (writers) all have our own balance but some are more weighted to one side or the other. But it seems to me that the people who love, or need, to write, know what they want to write. More often their variety of ideas is expressed within genre. Some horror writers work to success. Apocalyptic works for you—that is what you write. Some may write creature horror then literary horror then a Lovecraftian tale. If you have a love and a compulsion it is natural they would make an alliance.

Writers like me, those for whom writing is simply a vehicle for telling stories, tend to wider ranging topics and genres. I can’t say if it is good or bad. The market will decide that. I just write my stories and hope.

I had plans. I had dreams. I started out years ago thinking I would write science fiction. I’m not smart enough. Not only that, but science fiction changed. I grew up with Heinlein and Asimov and Bradbury. Through the ‘80s and ‘90s, science fiction became much more about tie-ins and a very active genre. Read that as more structured and harder to break into. And I still wasn’t smart enough.

But I wasn’t locked. I didn’t want to just write. I certainly didn’t need to write science fiction. I wanted to tell stories. I wrote screenplays. I never sold one but it is the nature of that business that you can get passed around and praised and never sold. I wrote a historical fiction script about the legend of John Henry. Story editors called to tell me how much they loved it. But… I wasn’t compelled to screenwriting. It was about stories. I still had many to tell.

Over the years I wrote television commercials, news, documentaries, some stories, plays, poetry… Some of it was just work. Some for love. See, I don’t much care about the means to tell a story as long as I get the story told.

I think my particular balance between writing and storytelling has both helped and hindered me. If I concentrated on one thing, I would probably get better quicker and, perhaps, had more success. On the other hand, I have books out in horror, romantic suspense, mystery/thriller, and one upcoming gritty noir. Even within genre, especially horror, my books vary widely. That gives me more of an opportunity to reach an audience.

Many of us writers spend a lot of time writing about writing. It is a group that likes to help and boost each other. Also we get asked pretty often about how to do it or how to succeed. I always say you have to decide for yourself what success is. But you also have to find your balance between writing and storytelling. The important thing to take away from my ramblings, is to make your choices. I think the only way to fail, is to write for success. You can chase that balloon forever and never write anything you really want to write. And consider the worst case, what if you catch it? What if you write a novel that succeeds and you end up doing a series of books you don’t love writing?

It’s all a balance, but I say find the side with your joy on it, then put your thumb on the scale. For me, it’s telling lots of different stories in different ways. And guess what—I’m working on two science fiction stories. No space, and no far-far future. I still hope I’m smart enough to pull them off.

About the Author:

Robert E. Dunn was born an army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He wrote his first book at age eleven, stealing, or novelizing, as he called it at the time, the storyline of a Jack Kirby comic book.

His college course of study, philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications, left him qualified only to be a televangelist. When that didn’t work out, he turned to them mostly, honest work of video production. Over several years he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues. Still always writing for the joy of it he returned to writing horror and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.

He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.

Theresa Braun – Dead over Heels Review

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Dead over Heels is a bit more of a love story than I usually find myself reading, but in this case I couldn’t help it. I kept seeing such good reviews and had to check it out for myself.

Veronica wants to meet a nice guy but she has no luck. She does have an interest in ‘magic’ and the supernatural, so a candle ritual to meet a guy feels about right. Why not? What does she have to lose? Whether it was the candle ritual or a twist of fate she meets Sebastian. They have an instant connection and have both lost a loved one.

Veronica and Sebastian were characters I could easily relate to for the following reasons. It’s not often you feel you’ve known someone forever after just meeting, or the way you meet is just too crazy to be a coincidence, or when life throws you a rare and random chance at happiness you take it and don’t look back. After meeting Sebastian, life for Veronica is looking up and she thinks everything is great until a dinner date at restaurant turns strange.

Where is the horror you ask? I know, I review scary books not love stories. Dead over Heels has death, murder and betrayal, it’s not all puppies and rainbows. The story takes several dark turns I hadn’t expected plus a twist ending for Veronica. The ghosts of her past come back and their connection to the couple is more than either could imagine. Dead over Heels didn’t disappoint me. The good words I’d been hearing were right and this book is a fun read.

Book Info

Length: 38 Pages

Publisher: Frith Books

Release date: November 16, 2016

To Purchase Dead over Heels Click Here

Veronica’s first date with Sebastian not only stirs up a powerful attraction, but also a series of supernatural events that will tear them apart.

After countless hours of dead end online dating, Veronica meets up with Sebastian at a reportedly haunted restaurant, since he knows she has a fascination with the paranormal. While enjoying their meals and each other’s company, they share a shocking supernatural experience. Their romantic connection is overshadowed by the ghosts of their own pasts that threaten to destroy their budding relationship. Veronica decides she must return to the restaurant to face her past and dig up more answers. Unfortunately, she realizes she must go back, this time with a reluctant Sebastian. In the end, they join forces against the evil that stands between them, but will they make it out alive?

Theresa Braun, biography

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre. Her short story “Shout at the Devil” appears in Under the Bed Magazine, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in Hindered Souls, and “Dead over Heels” is soon to be published by Frith Books.