Ghost Writing

Haunted Magazine We are pleased to announce that our very first non-fiction article has been published by Haunted Digital Magazine! Check it out here it’s about Woodchester Mansion, which we visited for the seventh episode of season 1 of Calamityville Horror.  There are tales of a headless horseman, a floating coffin and American soldiers haunting the property. Sadly we didn’t have Johnny Depp helping us to track down this elusive horseman. One day…

We’ve never considered non-fiction as an avenue for our writing. Mostly because we’re not experts in anything (except getting lost and drinking Red Bull). We’ve attempted a couple of articles before that sucked worse than a perforated vacuum cleaner. They were so bad, we didn’t even submit them to the anthologies we’d written them for. They are languishing on the hard drive, never to be opened again. So when Haunted Digital Magazine approached Calamityville Horror and asked us to write four articles based on family hauntings, we panicked. Then we had a great idea – we’d write them as though we were writing a blog post. Our blog is non-fiction and we hope funny, so we figured if we pretended we were writing a blog post, it might turn out ok.

You’ll have to read it for yourself to see if it worked. (Page 116)

To say we were surprised to be offered the articles is an understatement. We thought the only requests we’d get through Calamityville Horror, was to cancel the show, or appear in court over the constant piss-taking of Most Haunted and friend of the show, Derek Acorah *Disclaimer* Derek Acorah has never even heard of the show, let alone befriended it.

So, for the next three issues (crossing talons it goes that well) we’ll bring you articles on family hauntings. Surprisingly, these are quite hard to come by, so we have expanded it into properties that have so many ghosts, they could be classed as a family. In the next issue, due out end of February, we return to the place where this show first began – Ruthin Gaol.

Winter Gimpics

Winter GimpicsIn the summer we were so inspired by the Olympics, we decided to host our own. The Gimpic Games. Basically, the Olympics for idiots. The only rule of the Gimpics – there ARE no rules. Cheating, sabotage and blatant disregard for safety were not frowned upon. In fact, they were actively encouraged. In the Gimpics, there are no medals for coming second or third. Winning is the only thing that counts. The summer events included sand dune sledging, sand wrestling in inflatable sumo suits, archery with children’s archery set and Nerf shooting. This weekend, it snowed. And so began the Winter Gimpics.

And this time, it’s dangerous.

Castell Coch Winter GimpicsSledging was naturally going to be the first event. But the M4 was closed so the sand dunes would sadly not be featuring in the Winter Gimpics. Caerphilly Mountain was also closed. It seemed the Government had heard of our sporting endeavours and was trying to sabotage them. They can keep their health and safety rules. We have medals. As we saw swarms of families and teenagers heading up Rhiwbina Hill, where we were planning on competing, we decided we needed a new slope. Castell Coch provided us with the perfect one. There’s a steep incline up to the castle and due to the snow, they’d closed it. What was even better, was we were alone. So the contestants from Kingdom of the Blood Skulls (Lynx), the Pirate Islands (Cat), Jerkuania (Ryan), enthusiastic newcomer, United States of Lesbonia (Neen) and official Gimpic mascot, Meg, (Neen’s gorgeous Border Collie) traipsed to the top of the slope.  It was fun. There were spills, tumbles, collisions and snow. Then we discovered that the end of the slope was not only the fastest, it had a tight curve you had to negotiate. There were more crashes than banger racing and after running the contestant from Jerkuania off the track, the contestant from the Pirate Islands was crowned the winner, winning her first ever Gimpic medal. The contestant from Jerkuania called for drugs testing. The can of Red Bull found at the scene wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction.Neen from the United States of Lesbonia, face planting

Winter Gimpics

the contestant from the Pirate Islands takes out Jerkuania

The next day, the snow had hardened into slippery ice. So we returned to the slope, minus the contestant from Jerkuania who was feeling rather precious after ignoring Government advice to stay indoors and embarked on a night of heavy drinking. But the Gimpics obliterate the weak and feeble. There were medals at stake. The contestants from KBS, PI and USB abandoned the higher, safer part of the slope and raced on the lower, faster, more dangerous one with the curve. This time we were racing three abreast and were without the voice of caution that usually comes from Jerkuania. Dangerous doesn’t quite describe this high speed event. With three of us racing and the ice causing steering problems, there were collisions aplenty, with contestants ending up sledging off-road, into bushes, over rocks and having to avoid the mascot, who seemed to be working against KBS. The only way to brake was to put your hands on the floor. And there was only one way to stop – smash into the gate at the bottom.

Winter Gimpics

our track

Only the strong and the foolish compete in the Winter Gimpics.

Winter Gimpics

the contestant from the Kingdom of the Blood Skulls

In fact, the event was so jaw dropping, a group of spectators gathered behind the gates to watch us nearly kill ourselves. This kind of behaviour is usually only seen in teenage boys, not 3 29 year old women. The spectators must’ve thought we were extreme sports enthusiasts. Nope. We’re just gimps with sledges. After the exhilarating thrill of travelling at high speeds with no way to control or stop the sledge, there was only one way to crank up the danger.

Go down head first.

Winter Gimpics

this is how we stop

Seeing the gate hurtling towards our faces was terrifying. As was being unable to get out of other contestants way, leading to a few crash landings. There were injuries aplenty – Neen smacked her face on the gate in a new Facial Features Braking System test. Cat smacked her knuckles on a hidden rock, had friction burn on her arse from sliding along exposed tarmac, bruised her knees and developed a swelling on her elbow from the tarmac. A total of 10 bruises were later found on her. Lynx came out of the sledge more times than any other contestant and picked up a grand total of NO injuries. The other contestants are calling for drugs testing.

We now plan to go ice skating. Neen is a roller derby girl (Go Tiger Bay Brawlers!) and is bound to win. We haven’t been ice skating for over 15 years. We fully expect tumbles, broken bones and gashes from the skates. And that’s just from fighting over who goes first!

We asked Magic 8 Ball if we would finish the Winter Gimpics alive? Its response? “My sources say no.”

Winter Gimpians

Winter Gimpians

Gunning Down Bad Romance

We promised you a competition and now it’s time for its grand unveiling.

St. Dwynwen’s Day (the Welsh Valentine’s Day) is on January 25th. Instead of the Valentine’s tradition of giving such uninspired gifts like roses, chocolates and teddy bears, which quite frankly have NOTHING to do with beheading a saint, on St. Dwynwen’s Day, the tradition is to give love spoons. The handles of the spoons are carved with different things, each with a different meaning. In the olden days, guys would carve them for their partner. Nowadays you just buy them from a shop.

love spoons Gunning Down RomanceAnyhoo, to celebrate this and the forthcoming release of Bad Romance, we’re giving away 3 love spoons. For those of you who’ve read Gunning Down Romance, these feature in the final story, The Black Kiss and they’re not used for stirring soup. We’ll also be giving away copies of Bad Romance when it’s released.

In Bad Romance, one of the protagonists from Gunning Down Romance makes a return. To win a love spoon, you have to guess who. Comment below with your answer and if you’d like to give a reason why you think it’s your chosen one, feel free.

If you haven’t read Gunning Down Romance, here are the links. You have a week!
Amazon.co.uk 

Amazon.com 

Smashwords 

Look Who’s Talking

Ever get the feeling that your characters are really the ones in charge? That wouldn’t be so bad, if the character is question wasn’t a sociopath. You just can’t reason with them. You try saying no to them and the next thing you know, you’re hogtied in their basement praying their Torture Tools Activity Kit hasn’t arrived yet from Amazon.

When we started writing Still Life, the second story in Bad Romance, we knew there was something not quite right about it. Then this voice said ‘what are you doing? That’s MY story.’ We ignored them and carried on. But they wouldn’t shut up. ‘That’s my voice you’re using.’ We denied it – ‘it’s an unnamed character with their own story. Besides, their profession is completely different from yours’. But they wouldn’t stop. ‘Look at it. It’s similar. Listen to the voice. It’s mine.’ They were right. We now had a dilemma. Do we stick to our original plan of the unnamed character – the artist-  or do we surrender and allow this character to return?

We surrendered. Now we’re glad we did. They were right. Of course it was their story, their voice. We just didn’t realise at the time, but the more we looked at it and entertained the possibility of bringing them back, we knew we had to. After a bit of tweaking, the character is firmly established in the story and we know it truly does belong to them. We were foolish to think otherwise. Hope this doesn’t mean we’ve fallen under their spell. We’re meant to be the ones in control here.

You’re probably wondering who the hell we’re talking about. Well, we’re not going to tell you.  Before you throw stuff at us, we have a good reason for keeping it a secret. St. Dwynwen’s Day is January 25th. It’s the Welsh version of St Valentine’s Day without the teddy bears, wilting roses from the garage forecourt and heart shaped bog roll. The tradition on St. Dwynwen’s Day is for a guy to give his girlfriend a love spoon, with each symbol having a special meaning. Actually, he’s supposed to carve it himself, but those days are as dead as Dracula. For those of you who’ve read Gunning Down Romance, you’ll know the significance of the love spoon and the fun way D used it. Well, it was fun for her. Her lovers might say differently. So to celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day, we will be giving away a love spoon, along with a copy of Bad Romance, when it’s released. We’ll be running a contest, using this character we’ve talked about.

All will be revealed.

*Disclaimer* C L Raven accept no responsibility for love spoon related injuries but photographs of said mischief will be required for the fan club.

D-Day

Lately we seem to be aiming for extremely tight deadlines. When we say tight, we mean one week. One week to come up with a story, write it then edit it to death. The first story we did this for was BlackJack for Rebecca Fisk’s blog. In case you missed it, click here. We didn’t have a deadline for it, but we wanted to get it to her as quickly as possible, because we were already working on 5 other short stories. The second story that had the short deadline was Memento Mori, for Elena Jacob’s blog. You can read it here . This one actually had a deadline of 5 days. Both of those stories are 1000 words, so they didn’t take long to write or edit. But they were a challenge – we’d never written flash fiction and now we had 2 of them. Challenge accepted!

This new one is different. We’ve only just found out about an anthology, Black Apples, which wants gothic fairytales, with edgy fairytale princesses, 3000-10,000 words. Our first thought was ‘Once Upon a Nightmare’, our horror Red Riding Hood story from Disenchanted. Then we read the dreaded words ‘no reprints’. Bugger. We desperately wanted to get in the anthology. We belong in gothic fairytales! But we had 8 days, no story and no idea what to write. And we’d struggled filling the 10 slots in Disenchanted. So what did we do? We decided to write another fairytale. We figured Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast would be the most popular as they are princesses. So we picked Red Riding Hood. We’ve always preferred this one. Maybe ‘cos her happiness doesn’t involve marrying a prince. But could we do something different to ‘Once Upon A Nightmare’? Within five minutes we decided she should be a witch, the big bad wolf is her familiar, a she-wolf named Solstice and the wood cutter is a witch hunter. Boom. Then Cat switched on the laptop and started the story.

In just under two hours, we’d written 1200 words then stopped ‘cos it was getting late. By late afternoon yesterday, after the iguana had his bath, Lynx finished the story, at just over 4000 words. We squeezed in two edits before Zumba last night and another one this morning. Now the story is 5000 words long. We have 6 days ’til the deadline. Our biggest obstacle? The damn title. And as soon as that deadline hits, we have a month to polish and format the stories for Bad Romance. And start on the trailer. Ooh there’s another deadline for the end of the month. And we turn 30 3 days after Bad Romance is released so really need to look in to hiring a bouncy castle. We’re also in the middle of writing our next article for Haunted Magazine and have to squeeze in a 10 hour round trip to visit the location…

Hello, Tesco? Red Bull to go please.

Power of Three

Today Ravens Retreat lies as empty as a mausoleum after a zombie outbreak, because we’re spending the day at Rebecca Fisk’s blog. She challenged us to write a 1000 word story using 3 words – Blackjack, braid & cistern. This is what we came up with – http://wishywash27.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/collaborations-and-collusions.html You MUST follow Rebecca on Twitter @wishywashy27 and like her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-L-Fisk-Writer/314602145255452?fref=ts because she’s our cooler, more talented, awesome triplet. If we ever have the pleasure of meeting up in real life, the world will be destroyed by the mischief and mayhem we have planned. And did we mention she’s a talented artist? Well she is.  And for Halloween, she even managed to convince her dog, Herschel to wear a pink camisole and bow. He looked delightful 😀

1000 words is a challenge for us. Our usual short story length is between 4000 – 6000 words and we struggle with shorter pieces. Probably because our ideas are too big to fit into such a short space. We’ve written several 1700 word stories, but only one has ever got anywhere (Field of Screams) so it was good for us to practise writing a shorter piece. And one of the characters is a serial killer, which we always enjoy. We have a confession – where most people’s specialist subject on Mastermind would be an era of history, or trains etc, ours would be serial killers. The psychology of serial killers, to be exact. In fact, every coffee table book we own is about serial killers, true life crimes or ghosts. We even have an amazing Jack the Ripper book with copies of his letters & police reports. We also have files of true life crimes magazines. And books related to the subject. The only documentaries we watch are related to serial killers/murderers or psychology. So please, never ever EVER send the police to our house. How much for your silence? 😉