Hell Fire

Our K2 meter arrived on Wednesday, along with our camera bag & in-car camcorder charger. So the trip to Hell Fire Caves was on! We were so excited we couldn’t keep still. Friday night was spent eating chip shop chips and watching Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International and Most Haunted – the Hell Fire Caves episode. Saturday morning dawned bright and warm – not the type of weather you associate with ghost hunting. We set off at 9:05 for the two hour, twenty four minute journey to West Wycombe. We’d arranged to meet L K Jay there and were looking forwards to meeting her for the first time.

Surprisingly, we didn’t get lost. Apart from going to the wrong car park, but that’s an easy mistake to make and entirely Ryan’s fault. We met L K outside the car park and walked up to the caves together. The entrance is beautiful and not what you’d expect a cave entrance to look like. Especially one that hosted the infamous Hell Fire Club. We sat outside for a bit, chatting then decided to venture in.

The caves are amazing. They’re not too brightly lit, which lends an eerie atmosphere. Throughout the caves, there are cages which house mannequins. At one point, Ryan rounded the corner and spied a cage with child mannequins in it. He saw a shadow dart inside it. Creeped out, he edged towards the cage. And discovered Cat inside it with the mannequins. We couldn’t figure how the hell she had got in. Turned out, the gate was unlocked. All the gates were unlocked. Even the gate to the Inner Temple, which is situated 300 ft directly below St. Lawrence Church and was where most of the fun took place. There were mannequins seated around a table. So we joined them for a group photo.

Sadly, we didn’t see any ghosts. But we had lots of fun and highly recommend these caves to anyone. After the caves, we walked to the George and Dragon pub, in the ghost of the doomed barmaid, Sukie’s footsteps. The most terrible thing that happened was that the pub didn’t serve Smirnoff Ice or Red Bull. Luckily we’d bought plenty of supplies.

The caves were built in the 1750’s by Sir Francis Dashwood, who employed local men to keep them in employment. The caves were used by Dashwood and his friends, for their meetings, which would consist of drinking, feasting and wenching. We’d been looking forwards to participating in some wenching but unfortunately, the caves didn’t sell hotties in the gift shop. The Club members would often dress in white robes, with the leader wearing a red robe and they called themselves the Friars of Francis.

In the Most Haunted episode, they claim that Satanic rituals took place in the caves. We’ve found no evidence of this. However, they did hold mock PAGAN rituals. The last time we checked, Paganism is an entirely different religion, but who lets the truth get in the way of a good story?

The most famous ghost that reputedly haunts Hell Fire, is Sukie. She was a local girl who worked in the George and Dragon pub. She repeatedly spurned the advances of the local lads, because she wanted to marry a Lord. One day, a Lord came into the bar and flirted with Sukie. Three of the lads were so incensed, they set a trap for Sukie. They wrote a note, claiming to be from her Lord, asking her to meet him in the caves, in a white wedding dress. When she arrived, the lads scared her and taunted her. She ran into the caves, they threw stones at her, she fell and hit her head. The lads took her back to the pub, where she died a few days later. Visitors to the caves have reported seeing a woman in a wedding dress.

This is a great story. But we think that’s all it is. In the late eighteenth century, the local lads would’ve been farm workers, or labourers – they wouldn’t have been able to read or write. Even if one of them could write, would he have been able to write well enough to convince Sukie it was from her Lord? We don’t think so. Where would she have got a wedding dress at such short notice?

However, in the Hell Fire Club, they would smuggle prostitutes into the caves and they often liked indulging in role play. One of their favourites was of Ariadne, a quasi-virgin Greek bride. The prostitutes would often give themselves exotic names. Could a prostitute have died during one of these games? Is that who visitors have seen? If it is her, how did she die? And why does nobody know about it?

Watch the episode of C.A.T.S Calamityville Horror Hell Fire Caves with L K Jay here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMyVXYJb2f4

Hotty Heaven

Each week we’ve been enjoying Anya Breton’s hotty pics on her blog. After a dare from her, Ryan Burt has bravely compiled a list of his ten man crushes. We have a feeling there are many more he’s just not admitting to. So now we’re taking on the challenge. Feast your eyes on these beautiful specimens of manly perfection. These are in no particular order. And please don’t drool over the keyboard. While you’re enjoying them, we shall be smearing them in melted chocolate. Nomnomnomnom.

Johnny Messner. Was in Tears of the Sun and Killer Instinct. Check out his voice. So sexy.

 

 

 

 

Thomas Dekker. Adam in Secret Circle. Sexy voice and at times looks like he wears eyeliner. And you know we find that attractive on a guy.

 

 

 

Omari Hardwick and Logan Marshall Green. Ty Curtis & Dean Bendis in Dark Blue. They tie because we seriously can’t decide who’s hotter. Every episode we have this debate.

 

 

 

 

Theo James. He played Jed Harper in the ghost drama Bedlam, which was set in a mental asylum that had been converted into flats. We want to live there! With Theo 🙂

 

 

 

 

 Jason Tovey. Dragons rugby player (hopefully soon to be Cardiff Blues player). He’ll be easier to stalk when he’s in our city 😉

 

 

 

 

Jensen Ackles. Plays Dean Winchester in Supernatural. He can slay our demons any day 😉

 

 

 

 

 Shemar Moore. Morgan in Criminal Minds. Talk to me baby girl.

 

 

 My Chemical Romance. Yeah they’re all in there. They are our gods and we love their minds as much as their faces.

 

 

 

 Johnny Depp. Well, after spending days discussing him being covered in chocolate with Anya and Ryan, it’d be rude not to include him. And he’s deliciously quirky. He’s also a rare breed – one of the few guys we would date when he has long hair. The only other members of this group is MCR.

 

 

 

 

Wentworth Miller. Played Michael Schofield in Prison Break and has been our obsession ever since.

Have your hearts recovered from this sight?

 

C.A.T.S. Tales of Terror

Enough of boring you with Gunning Down Romance. We’ve started a new project. Our own ghost hunting show. Before you start thinking of Most Haunted, with high tec night vision camera equipment, an entire crew acting scared, a ‘psychic’ communicating with the spirits etc, this one’s different – we never see any ghosts, none of it’s faked, there’s no script, no crew. We don’t even research the places we’re visiting. We’re basically just clowns with a camera (and an EMF when it arrives). It’s not a proper show and should never be taken seriously. Come on, it’s us, we couldn’t do serious if we tried. So we’ve basically just got the footage we’ve filmed of any ghost hunting we’ve done and stuck it in Movie Maker with start and end credits. See? Not serious at all. We’ve called ourselves C.A.T.S. – Cardiff’s Answer to Supernatural, even though the third member of our team, Ryan, is from Brigend. But we hadn’t met him when we came up with the name, so it stays. The show is Tales of Terror. Even though nothing scary happens, but it’s cool, so we’re keeping it.

The first episode was shot in June 2010 when we visited Boys Village in East Aberthaw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdQYjEVuguE&context=C426d6b8ADvjVQa1PpcFNvSknDwArr1KJSPVLTGQ4ocP-tSmkhZMk= the blog for our visit is here: https://clraven.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/ghost-hunting-live/ episode 2 will be our visit to Ruthin Gaol. Episode 3 would’ve been our visit to Denbigh Asylum, had we not been escorted off the grounds. That really bites because we’ve seen photos & footage of people who managed to sneak in there. We ranted and raved about that for hours. We need to be in there! We’ve written a novel set there and everyone else but us has got in. We got angrier and angrier with each photo/video footage. Probably should’ve shut the computer down. Our glowing rage was mistaken for the Aurora Borealis. Each photo we see just infuriates us more. So instead, episode 3 is our visit to Margam Castle. We did a ghost walk there on Tuesday night with Wales History and Hauntings (who we did the Llandaff ghost walk with) so wanted to visit the castle in the day to get good footage. We knew it was going to go horribly wrong when we arrived at Ryan’s ready for a day of ghost fun only for him to think we were spending the afternoon in the Harvester with his family. We stared blankly at him. He swore blind he’d told us. He did not. So we set off to Margam ready for ghostly fun with just the two of us (there’s nothing vegan in Harvester, not even the chips) only for him to phone saying he’d cancelled and was joining us. Except he couldn’t find the motorway. Most of our time in Margam was wasted trying to find our way up to the ruins on the mountain. Once again proving, we are in fact, idiots.

The ghost walk was amazing. Unfortunately we couldn’t film it but we highly recommend you do that one and the Llandaff one. The guide, Jim, is fantastic. The hours fly by and you don’t even notice the cold because you’re so enthralled in his stories. Plus you get to visit Margam in the dark without having to remortage your house to pay for it. http://www.cardiffhistory.co.uk/ if you want to book a walk. Sadly we didn’t see any ghosts, though we were nearly turned into some on the M4 when a horse van thought it would be fun to try to crush us between it, the crash barrier and another car. But we live to fight another day.

So…if you like creepy ghost hunting shows with properly trained presenters who’ve painstakingly researched the place they’re going to, screams aplenty and the whole thing taken incredibly seriously, do NOT watch our show. However, if you would like to see 2 freaks and a geek getting lost, insulting  and hitting each other, armed with a video camera that doesn’t seem to have night vision who forgot to do their research in the excitement of visiting the place, then by all means, tune in. As soon as our EMF arrives, we’re off to Hellfire Caves. Yes we will get lost. Yes we will fool around. And yes in true horror movie form, we will mock the legend and get butchered live on camera. As long as one of survives to upload it.

Time of the month

Gunning Down Romance is one month old today! So we thought we’d blog about what it’s been like in our first month as Indie writers. So far we’ve sold 28 copies, so that equals roughly one a day, which we’re quite happy with. Most of them are in America, with 6 in the UK, one in Canada, one in France and two in Australia. 14 people have downloaded the 15% free sample from Smashwords but none of these have progressed into sales. Either they haven’t read it yet (we’re guilty of doing this) or they didn’t enjoy it. To help with the promotion, we made posters and bookmarks. Two posters are in our sister’s school staffrooms and one is adorning the window of our local Post Office. One of our Australian friends, Chris, requested 40 bookmarks and told us he’d put them in horror books in his local bookstores. We loved that idea! So we sent him a free copy of the book as a thank you. We’ve had 9 5* reviews on Amazon, which we’re thrilled with so huge thanks to everyone who’s left one. Hopefully the bookmarks will generate more interest in the book as right now our Amazon stats are plummeting so fast, they’re becoming Kamikaze pilots. If we hit the bottom of the graph, Amazon might explode.

Have we made our fortune? Hell no. In fact, we’re only halfway to paying off the images we bought for our book trailer and now we’ll have to sell even more to get back the money spent on making the bookmarks. We will probably never be in profit with this book. But if we wanted to make money, we wouldn’t be writers 😀 We’ve loved the whole learning process and being able to manically tap the thumbnail on Amazon and proudly declare “we did that. All by ourselves. Yeah us. Who can’t even work free photo editing software.” And we’ll be doing it again, with our twisted fairytale collection and with Soul Asylum. And probably with all our other novels and maybe we’ll write another Gunning Down Romance for next Valentine’s. After all the colour of Valentine’s is also the colour of blood.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/132849

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gunning-Down-Romance-ebook/dp/B0078KYG3W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331647752&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Gunning-Down-Romance-ebook/dp/B0078KYG3W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331647787&sr=1-1

Love Hurts by L K Jay

Roll up! Roll up! Another guest has decided to brave the gloomy corridors of Ravens Retreat. She was given a torch and a map at the door directing her to the cobweb filled living room of this crumbling asylum. After writing about ghost hunting, this place shouldn’t scare her too much. Aha. Here she is. She’s arrived safe and sound and covered in cobwebs. We’d like to introduce to the fabulous L K Jay, author of The Ghost Hunter’s Club.

Love Hurts…

By L K Jay

 

Two significant days happened to me this month which should have been important to me romantically.  Pity they were both utter non events but such is the story of my hopeless love life.  The first one was my 40th birthday.  A significant male friend came to visit, we went out for my birthday, got drunk, he made pass at me and then he decided that I wasn’t up to scratch.  A bloody marvellous way to start the 4th decade of my life.  Roll on Valentine’s day and as per usual, I get a credit card bill and council tax reminder but nothing made of cardboard.

Yet do I sit a weep on my sofa, listen to ‘Adele’ and mourn my loss?  Do I hell!

I get out my laptop, let the vitriol flow through my veins, my fingers fly across the keyboard and I write like fury.  Getting it out of my system by using the sorry events in a plot and onto paper is one of the best forms of therapy I know.  And once the story has been edited, formatted and the cover design finished, you might have a successfully selling story on your hands.  What better revenge is that?

This was why downloading C L Raven’s ‘Gunning Down Romance’ on Valentine’s day was such a satisfying read.  I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that Valentine’s is irritating but reading those macabre love stories where romance takes a deadly turn was gratifying to say the least.  What a delicious way to get your rubbish ex out of your head than imagining him being carved up, sautéed and served as an hors d’oeuvre?

It was exactly the same a couple of years ago when I met who should have been Mr Right.  He was tall, handsome, had a well paid job in the city and was funny to boot.  Was I swept off my feet and down the aisle?  No such luck.  Instead I found myself supervising a very, very drunk 6 foot 2 man who told me that despite being on a date, I was misinterpreting his interest in me and then promptly threw up in the middle of Leicester Square.  I don’t half pick ‘em.  But once I’d popped the blisters on my feet from wearing ridiculous shoes in order to impress this man, I sat at my laptop and started writing ‘The Ghost Hunters Club’.  Before long, my rubbish date was out of my system and by the time I had finished writing four months later I had completely forgotten about him and I had the first draft of my novel that I was really pleased with.

So here I am with a novel to publicise and a story to tell.  If you find yourself dumped, on your own and seething; don’t get mad, get even.  Use your experiences and write about them; you’ll feel better afterwards and you never know you might make a bob or two out of it.  After all, where there’s muck there’s brass!

‘The Ghost Hunters Club’ by L K Jay is available to download from Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ghost-Hunters-Club-ebook/dp/B006E88OM8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1330896901&sr=1-1 It’s got ghosts, drinking and hopeless men; see if you can spot the rubbish date and see what I do to him in the end…

The Ghost Hunters Club book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcqgFIfOz4I

You can find out more about L K Jay from her blog: lkjaywriter.blogspot.com

Or follow her on Twitter: @FenlandGirll

L K Jay writes for Art Fist magazine and we were thrilled when she asked if she could interview us. Of course we said yes! You can read her brilliant interview here – http://www.artfist.org/2012/03/interview-with-c-l-raven.html?m=1

 

Semper Fi HP

It’s a sad, sad day. Here at Ravens Retreat, we’re in mourning. Our beloved HP laptop has committed suicide.

It might’ve been a terrible tragic accident. The sole witness is unreliable. The HP is 6 years old, has never had a new hard drive, though it’s had 4 new adaptors, has been dropped, banged and abused more times than is healthy in a relationship – in fact, if it was a human, it would be in a refuge and we would be in jail. But we loved it. No-one understood our love for it. “It’s slow,” they’d say. “It’s broken. It’s held together by cardboard and duct tape.” But we saw past its faults and loved it anyway. A few months ago, the hinges broke on both sides. We lovingly patched it up with cardboard hinges and duct tape until we could find the tools to fix it. Today the adaptor broke again. We patiently wriggled the wires and brought it back to life. About 45 minutes ago, defeated by life, it threw itself backwards off the table, dragged down by the weight of its cardboard hinge, and now we’re left with a grey screen of sadness on its little electronic face. Our only comfort was it was quick. It didn’t deserve to suffer.

Every piece of work we’ve written over the past six years and everything we’ve had published was created on the HP. Sometimes we write on this one, the ASUS but then they’re edited on the HP. It had Windows XP, which we love. Word 2003 is simple. Our fingers instinctively know where every key is. It will be hard to move on. We need a grieving period. It seems so heartless to be looking for a new one when the loyal HP is sitting on a table by our sides, watching. We don’t move on easily.

Can we please have a minute’s silence?

RIP HP.