Not the Ten o’clock News

Ok, we don’t really have anything interesting to say and are only writing this because it’s been over a week since we’ve blogged. Some of you have probably been glad for the break, some of you probably haven’t even noticed ūüėÄ So this is just a¬†clairvoyant post about what we can see in the crystal ball.

Our fairytale collection, Disenchanted will not be out this month as promised, but will hopefully be out in July – just in time for the summer sales slump. For some reason, books don’t sell as well over the summer months and we will be launching Disenchanted into the heart of the sales desert. BUT we think this may be a good thing. While other authors will be experiencing poor sales, our loyal army of friends (we need a collective noun for them so if you can think of one, let us know) will hopefully be buying Disenchanted. So we will be shooting up the rankings like rats up a drainpipe. Of course by the time the slump picks up, we will plummet from the great height and break our butt bones on landing. But at least we would’ve seen the view from a high chart¬†position, if only for a short while.

Our debut novel, Soul Asylum, has a definite release date. October 1st. We originally wanted to release it on Halloween but then figured if we want the sales to pick up round the best time of the year, we’d have to release it earlier. So forget Halloweek, we’re declaring October Hallowmonth. Hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right. OcSoulber? Soulaween? Maybe it’s just as well we weren’t in charge of naming the months. We sent it back to our editor yesterday and it should be back with us for the final time in mid July. We’ve been working on the cover and are planning the trailer. We’re also looking to get it into print. Mostly so we can go round stroking it in a really creepy way.

Oh and Gunning Down Romance will now be the first book in a trilogy, hereby known as the Romance is Dead trilogy. The second book, which will be released Feb 2013, will be called Bad Romance and the final book, Romance is Dead, will be released Feb 2014. We wanted GDR to be part of a series but didn’t want to commit to it in case we were busy at that time – Valentine’s is so hectic when you have no cards to buy/receive. So for the next two years, beware, because Valentine’s is going to be bloody.

Justice Department

For Calamityville Horror’s season finale, we needed a great location – Nottingham’s Galleries of Justice. We were joined by the fabulous writer L K Jay, who plans to use the location in her sequel to The Ghost Hunter’s Club. We’d made prisoner biscuits for the 3 hour trip up there. It was all going so well. Should’ve known then something bad was about to happen. We reached the exit for the A453 only see ‘CLOSED’ on the sign. No previous warning. Ryan’s GPS recalculated slowly, in the meantime, we’d hit a fork coming off the roundabout and ended up heading towards home. Ten minutes later, we turned around and headed back a different route, now using our Atlas. Then we reached Nottingham. Does anyone remember how much we bitched about North Wales’ terrible sign posting? North Wales, we sorry. Nottingham’s was even worse. The Galleries were not signposted. Anywhere. We drove through the city centre a few times, at one time reaching a crossroads. We idled in the middle of it while we checked for sign posts and with the windows tightly shut, shouted at the crowds of people all walking on the roads around us. Then we noticed the crossroads had no road markings. In fact, we were the only car driving through this part of the city centre.

Yes. We were driving through a pedestrianised shopping zone.

No wonder people were staring. Didn’t help being in the only hot orange Mini Cooper convertible in the city. Hugely embarrassed and praying we didn’t get fined, we fled the scene. Pedestrians screamed as they dived for safety, old men shook their fists at us, children cried when we snatched their ice creams as we shot past. Well, we were heading for an old jail, we figured bad behaviour was a must. We eventually found the Galleries, met L K Jay in the pub opposite and headed inside. Turned out we’d just missed the tour so had to wait half an hour for the next one, which was at half one. At half one we arrived at the meeting point. The tour had started without us. The receptionist said “go through that brown door then through the brown door on your left.” There were 3 brown doors to our left and 3 to our right. Worried one door was going to unleash hungry tigers, we quickly checked them and found a court room behind door number one, where the tour guests were seated in the public gallery. The tour was fantastic! L K Jay got called as a prosecution witness then the three of us sentenced Robin Hood to be decapitated. Turned out, us and L K Jay were the only ones who voted for the death penalty. And we voted very enthusiastically. The guy playing Robin Hood was actually a tour guest. Hope he didn’t take our death sentence personally. We just wanted someone to get decapitated. We weren’t picky who it was. The Sheriff of Nottingham was a bit of a looker, though he was quite young. Wouldn’t have minded him slapping us in chains ūüėČ

We were taken down to the cells and handed over to a female prisoner for a bit before being allowed to wander. Our miserable looking group left rather swiftly. We found a small grate in the Sheriff’s Dungeon and as Ryan was trying to shove Cat down through it, we discovered it was loose. So naturally we removed it and we believe, ¬†got exclusive views of the Oubilette below us. We did an EVP session there and in the dark cell but the K2 wasn’t responsive. Ryan noticed a brick was loose beneath the bed in the dark cell so carefully removed it. We positioned the camera ready, hoping to find an undiscovered skeleton and saw…more bricks. We got over excited when we saw the gallows in the exercise yard and in true Calamityville style, pretended to hang ourselves in the photo. We know how to have fun. Then we found a rack full of shackles so put them on. After that we went onto a ‘ship’ that took us to Australia and we emerged in the very warm corridor of Australia before being freed to wander the rest of the jail. Cat and Ryan started feeling very sick in the upper cells, like their throats were tightening. It passed after we were back outside. It was probably over excitement.

The Galleries of Justice were absolutely brilliant. We would love to go back and are desperate to spend the night there, if they let us. We then visited the City of Caves. Which turned out to be on the top floor of the Broadmarsh shopping centre, beside Wimpy. We’re not kidding. You go through a shop, down some steps and into the caves. They’re 400 years old and man made. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to film down there and there were a lot of people on our tour. But the Galleries of Justice we definitely recommend. We didn’t manage to force Ryan into the pits, we know everyone was looking forwards to that. Next time though…

How was my writing?

Reviews. Love them or hate them, they’re there to help a customer make a decision on what product to buy, but nothing upsets authors more than a bad review. It’s understandable. You’ve spent hours, weeks, years on your writing and you want everyone to love it. You love it so why should anyone disagree with you? Because people are different. Nobody has the same taste. The world would be a pretty dull place if they did. So why should it be any different when it comes to your book? And yet some authors who get a bad review react like you’ve thrown acid in their face.

Not only do they attack the customer who dared to give them a low star rating, they gather their armies and send them to destroy the reviewer. If you’re an author who’s given the bad review, it could get worse. They could give your books 1* and get their army to do the same, sending your book falling down the rankings faster than a dropped piano, potentially ruining your career. All because you didn’t like their book.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We’ve read a book that has won awards and had praise heaped upon it from everyone who’s read it. It seemed everyone loved that book. Except us. Had we written a review, giving it the 2* we probably would’ve, we wouldn’t have expected a vitriolic backlash for daring to voice our opinions, because it’s something professional people shouldn’t do. Say we wrote a bad review for a microphone we bought on Amazon, we wouldn’t expect the manufacturer to attack us and get the rest of the company to start a vendetta against us, yet some authors believe this is acceptable. It’s not.

Everyone gets bad reviews. Even best-selling authors. We know we’ll get them and though we’re not looking forwards to them, we know they will happen. And we will certainly will not attack the reviewer, or incite our friends to attack them. It’s a form of bullying. Bad reviews are just part of an author’s life. Troll reviews are different. They’re written by people who have the personality of rotting fungus, who can only feel good about themselves by attacking other people.

For example, we know the way we look polarises people. We have people coming up to us in supermarkets (old ladies mostly) telling us how much they love our look. Then we get loud mouthed wankers bellowing at us how much they hate the way we look. We had seven years of being bullied for the way we look. We had two choices – continue to dress the way we do and accept that being attacked for it was just part of life, or dress completely normally and get no backlash. Guess what we did – yes, we continued to dress the way we liked and to hell with what they thought. Because it’s our right to look the way we want to look.

It’s the same with writing. If you want to publish your work and have people read it, accept that you’re going to get bad reviews. If you don’t want bad reviews, don’t publish your work. Do print on demand, give it to your family and friends and live off their adoration. But don’t attack the person who doesn’t like your work. Otherwise there could be a situation where authors are too scared to give another author a bad review, for fear of their own book being sabotaged. And that’s not the game we want to play.

Mortal Punch

Sucker Kombat

On Saturday we were able to attend our first fancy dress party that wasn’t thrown by us. Ryan’s brother, Trevor, was turning 40. We’d already got our costumes – Sucker Punch girls. Cat was Blondie, Lynx was Sweet Pea. Yes, we know the film wasn’t that popular, but we don’t care. We love it. And the costumes are super cool. Ryan didn’t have a costume, so we had to go back to our¬†favourite¬†costume shop – Dunbars in Caerphilly. ¬†They’re great in there. When we went, they didn’t have the Sucker Punch costumes in the shop, so went to the warehouse to fetch them for us. Ryan eventually picked Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat. It was surprisingly painless, considering if he didn’t find a costume, he was kinda screwed.

Then we had to get a present. On the day we were going. Don’t ask. The only reason Ryan had a card for his brother, is because we bought it. So we ended up traipsing to Cardiff town. Which we normally avoid like the plague. Especially on a Saturday. Luckily we only had to go to a couple of shops before finding something – a Lego Technic Jeep. We loved Lego as kids – still do, though it’s freakin’ expensive.

We got home with an hour and a half left to get ready and leave. The party was in Llandrindod Wells, which is an hour and a half away on a good day with no traffic. We were taking two cars because Ryan was staying over and we were coming home. We can’t sleep in strange places and we wanted to drive the Brecon roads at night. We loaded our Smart car, General Smarticus Pinkington (Pinky to his friends) and were about to leave. Pinky wouldn’t start. For the first time in five years. We were furious. Not only we were running late, but this would’ve been Pinky’s first ever long distance road trip. The furthest he’s gone is Bridgend and we were looking forwards to taking him through Brecon. The whole street probably heard our meltdown, but there was nothing we could do. We had to take our mum’s Mini, Mickey. Who didn’t have enough petrol to get us home.

We had to go to the petrol station dressed in our Sucker Punch costumes.

We had no mishaps on the drive and even got there early. Which in a way was more annoying, because we would’ve had time to jump start Pinky. It was nice to finally meet the last of Ryan’s siblings. We had a great time and spent most of the evening plotting to sneak their dog, Smartie, into our cool bag and take him home. He was a small bundle of wiry cuteness.

At 11pm, some of the guest were heading to what’s called the rock park, to take photos. The three of us decided to tag along, but by the time we got our coats and Ryan took Smartie back inside (he was clearly trying to sneak off with us) the group had vanished. We’d been given directions, but it won’t surprise you to learn we got lost. So we were wandering the streets of Llandrindod Wells, dressed as the Sucker Punch girls and Sub Zero. One group of people passed us and we were all prepared for a verbal sparring when one of them said “glad to see someone’s got some fucking balls round here.” We were so pleased we didn’t have the heart to tell her we weren’t from round there. In the end, we had to ask a young family who were walking their baby to sleep, where this rock park was. If they thought our outfits strange, they didn’t say anything. They were really lovely and directed us to the park. It was ages away! If we’d known it was that far, we would’ve taken the car, especially as we were wearing three inch heels.

We followed their directions, got a little confused and ended up on a railway bridge in the pitch dark. We were told the rock park was well lit.

us in the pitch black rock park

There were no lights where we were, but at least that meant we couldn’t see how high we were. We retraced our steps and eventually found the steps the family had told us about. We went down them into the darkness and heard a stream (we couldn’t see it). Feeling¬†apprehensive, we made our way to another railway bridge and went under it. Still no rock park and only one lamp. And no sign of the other group.

Then we heard this strange sound. Like an unearthly throaty noise. Even though we had swords with us, they were plastic and not suitable for fighting monsters. We got the hell out of there. As soon as we emerged into streetlighting, we took off our boots and walked back in our socks. We were stalked by a growling Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but luckily managed to lose it. Ryan didn’t fancy trying out our advice of lying on his back and submitting to the dog. We got back, expecting to see the other group, but we beat them. When they did return, we learned we were in the right place, we just had to go on a little further.

Like Cinderella, we left at midnight and yes, the Brecon roads are stunning in the day. But they’re a hell of a lot of fun at night. Just be careful you don’t end up in the valley that’s too dark to see…

Beautiful Minds

The lovely Susie Tullett¬†has nominated us for a Beautiful Blogger award! The only conditions are, we have to give seven facts about ourselves, link to the person who nominated us *pointing above* then nominate seven others worthy of this award. Kinda disappointed there’s not a condition attached which states you have to spend the night in a haunted house, but guess we’ll have to wait to be a beneficiary of someone’s will.

Here are our facts: –

1. Our favourite band is My Chemical Romance. They have inspired us in so many ways and not just because we’ve pinched a song and an album title for our recent fairytales collection. Their music helps fight the darkshines when they descend and they give us the courage to keep being who we are, even when scumbags try to drag us down.

2. Our favourite poem is ‘Ballard of Reading Gaol’. We looked it up after hearing it on an episode of Perry Mason (when we should’ve been in school) and it features in our forthcoming debut novel, Soul Asylum.

3. Our first crush was Christian Slater. When clearing out the attic a few months ago, we found scrapbooks filled with pictures of him. No, we’re not ashamed.

4. We were born 33 minutes apart. Lynx is older.

5. The major differences between us, are our injuries. Cat’s had two knee ops on her left knee from tearing the lining off the bone, she’s torn the ligaments in both ankles (5 times) and broken the index and pinky fingers on both hands. She also cracked her head open when we were 4 and might’ve broken her nose when she was 5. Lynx has scoliosis. That’s it. It’s not very interesting.

6. As kids, we loved the film Snowbeast and would spend ages trying to pause the film on the monster’s face. But with the delay in pause on our old VCR, we never managed it. We recently bought the film on DVD and paused it on the monster’s face. A lifetime’s ambition achieved ūüėÄ The only bit of the film we remembered was the build up to the monster’s big face reveal. Which proves which bit we were obsessed with.

7. We don’t believe in ghosts yet we really want to see one and have our own ghost hunting show on YouTube, called Calamityville Horror. Did we mention we’re paradoxical?

Ok, time to nominate our seven beauties. In no particular order

Anya Breton

Ryan Burt

L K Jay

Elaine Allen

Sean and Dan Campbell

Lacey Wolfe

Cinta Garcia

Go West. Actually, don’t.

The Diamond Jubilee completely ruined our ghost hunting plans as every location we wanted to go was hosting Jubilee events. In the end we managed to find two places that weren’t – Caldey Island and Tyneham, a ghost village in Dorset. We opted for Caldey. And lived to regret it. 5 HOURS it took us to get there because of the traffic. And when we eventually got to Tenby, we discovered you couldn’t park by the harbour and had to park in a multi storey car park – about 15/20 min walk from the harbour. Oh and it appears the people of Tenby are illiterate. That’s the only explanation we can think of for the extreme lack of sign posts. The harbour is not sign posted AT ALL. Neither is the pay desk for Caldey Island. Considering these are tourist places, this is beyond belief. We had to ask 2 people to direct us to the harbour. We reached the Caldey pay desk at 2:55. They closed at 3. Except they obviously can’t tell the time because they were already closed, leaving us and some other tourists pissed off. Actually, we were apoplectic. It had taken us five hours to get to a location only for them to close early. Oh and we had to endure constant staring, points, sniggers and abuse from the local Chavs that were crawling everywhere like cockroaches. Clearly they’re not used to seeing people who aren’t dressed in tracksuits and gold jewellery, and went into a complete meltdown as their tiny brains struggled to comprehend this.

Thoroughly pissed off, we had to make the long trek back to the car. Stopped off and bought some pirate flags to hang from the car windows in protest of all the Union Jack flags that were tainting the scenic views. Pirate flags flying proudly, we headed to Pembroke castle, where apparently people hear moans coming from beneath it. We think maybe this isn’t paranormal but the grunts of the local Chavs. As we were walking up to the castle we once again suffered abuse from another group of Chavs. One fat guy in a t-shirt and tracksuits bottoms shouted “what do you fucking look like? Fucking joke.” To which Cat replied “We look amazing. What do YOU look like? Fucking Chav.” Lynx responded “go fuck yourself with a sharp stick.” We apologise for our language but constant swearing is the Chav native tongue and the only words they’re able to communicate in. It’s completely incomprehensible why someone as ugly as him with such dire taste in clothes could DARE to criticise OUR clothing. Maybe he was so overcome with shame this was the only way he knew how to deal with it.

Pembroke castle is beautiful. And it has a dungeon! Which we only discovered when they were ringing the bell to throw everyone out. We refused to leave until we’d seen the dungeon and then got locked in the castle. Much to our dismay, they let us out. We did some EVP sessions in various places around the castle and at one point when we were asked for a name, in Welsh, the iOvilus said ‘Rodger.’ We’ve now discovered the castle was built by Roger of Montgomery in 1093. How cool is that?

As we left, a huge group of Chavs were sitting on the wall outside. They immediately started heckling us, shouting incoherent sentences that in the native Chav tongue was probably a chat up line. Y’know, like how cavemen would club women and drag them back to their cave.¬†Maybe they were then confused as to why we weren’t swooning with barely controlled lust, like the Chav girls would’ve been. Then one of them asked if we’d take him to Hell. No thanks. We don’t allow scum in our Hell. Ryan was shocked and disgusted by the amount of abuse that was hurled at us. Unfortunately, we used to endure this every day for years which is why we became socialphobic. It doesn’t bother us any more. Clearly they thought we were celebrities. You know how inbred idiots get when faced with fabulous celebrities. They started grunting and throwing things like over excited cavemen.¬†Unfortunately, Chavs are prolific breeders so are everywhere. The only way to stop this is with a neutering programme. Y’know, like with stray dogs. So while Pembroke castle was beautiful and we unfortunately didn’t have time to finish the castle, we will definitely NOT be returning to West Wales in the near future. If at all. In fact, we only suggest you visit there if you enjoy degenerate scum abusing you in every town. When we start the zombie apocalypse, that’s where we’ll send the zombies.

Watch the chavesty of an episode here