Carry on Camping

Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs Bay

After we’d been camping in Tenby in July, Ryan bought a tent and was determined to use it before camping season ended. So he booked a two night stay in Three Cliffs Bay in the Gower for himself and our mates Rich and Hannah. We weren’t going to go because Cat had her knee operation on August 28th and we weren’t sure if her knee could withstand camping four weeks after the op. Then we heard the forecast was for rain. Camping in the rain wouldn’t bother us, but being stuck in a tent with nothing to do would drive us insane, especially when we knew there were castles to explore. This week we’d finally made up our minds to go. And the forecast improved. We discovered that two of the castles nearby were haunted so we arranged for Neen, the newest member of Calamityvile to join us at Oystermouth. Forget camping, this was Calamping.

Ryan went straight to the Gower after work so we joined him later in the evening, doing some beast spotting as we travelled through country lanes. We’re not experts in cryptozoology but we debunked some beast sightings as sheep and wild ponies. By the time we got to the campsite, the daylight was dying, so we assembled Ryan’s tent by headlights and luck. Rich & Hannah got lost so didn’t arrive for another hour. We spent the evening playing the card game Avalon, which always descends into wild accusations of treachery and passionate pleas of innocence and causes you to manipulate and yell at your friends. It’s a lot of fun.

Pennard Castle

Pennard Castle

Saturday morning we were all set for exploring Three Cliffs Bay and Pennard Castle. Pennard is supposedly haunted by a Gwrach y Rhibyn, a Welsh banshee. She’s hideous with black leathery bat wings, waxy skin, rotting teeth and straggly hair. She usually haunts moats and crossroads and on a rainy night, will rise from the depths and call the name of the person doomed to die, like a terrifying game show host. Once she’s called your name, she returns for you and knocks on your bedroom window before dragging your soul to Hell, without giving you the chance to claim the star prize. She features in one of our stories in Deadly Reflections so we had to see if we could find her. There is also a rumour that if you spend the night in Pennard Castle, the Gwrach y Rhibyn causes you to go mad. We were tempted.

We tried to find a way to the beach from our campsite. Us and Rich were all for hacking our way through the brambles and steep drop that bordered our campsite but Ryan and Hannah talked us out of it. After failing to find a way down, we asked the owner. Having to ask how to get to our locations kind of ruined the adventure feel we’d set out with. We walked to the beach and crossed the serpentine estuary via stepping stones onto sand dunes. They soon gave way to marshland, where we determined grooves gouged into the ground were the drag marks of beast victims. We spotted paw prints with claws, which we were certain were beast prints. We considered warning other tourists as they seemed oblivious to the danger, but then we decided against it. The beast would need to eat and we refused to be on the menu. With the castle lurking on the cliff above us, we could believe we were in an epic fantasy, as part of an invading army marching to storm the castle. Well, if you can have an army of five armed only with crutches, shortbread and determination.

Pennard Castle

this way to the castle

After marching across a wooden walkway beside the estuary, we saw the way to the castle – a steep sandy slope. We decided to rest at the bottom and eat a bag of Sainsbury’s ready salted crisps before attempting to tackle it. By the time we got to the top we were too exhausted to storm it so just stumbled up to it, trying to catch our breaths. It was hardly the ferocious siege we’d envisioned. We beat the other three to the top and had already explored it by the time they joined us. Turns out, Pennard is basically two walls. It the hardest we’ve ever worked to get to a castle and we had to cross a field of murderous cows to reach Old Beaupre. Behind the castle was a golf course, which totally ruined our imaginations of this epic fantasy setting. You wouldn’t wander out of Winterfell onto the eighteenth hole.

Pennard Castle

Hannah, Rich, Ryan & creepy guy

Whilst we were exploring, we saw a guy walking through the grounds. We avoided him and hid through one of the arches. He stopped to talk to the others. After a while, we wandered over to join them and within seconds, our spidey senses were tingling. This guy gave off a vibe so wrong it almost made our K2 light up. After he told us we’d look good in films, we scarpered. And his teeth were unnaturally white and straight. They really didn’t fit with his face. Our first thought was the police might have his teeth impressions on file after a dastardly case of cannibalism and he’d replaced them with dentures to avoid detection. After he’d gone, Rich and Hannah both said they’d been creeped out by him. Luckily Rich had one of Cat’s crutches, so if the guy had tried anything, Rich could have whacked him off the mountain with the crutch. Rich even pulled Hannah away from the guy and got the crutch ready should the creepy teeth man attempt anything murderous.

Then there was another bizarre incident. A woman was cradling some cloth then sat beside our group and opened the cloth. Inside were 6 or 7 enormous mushrooms. She kept watching us as she examined the mushrooms, like she was paranoid we were going to take them. We half expected her to snarl ‘my precioussss’ whilst glowering. She then gathered them up in the cloth and walked away.

We decided to rest and enjoy the view – we could see General Pinkinton perched on the top of the slope even from this distance, like a glowing pink beacon of hope – before heading back when a dog started barking. We could see it in the ferns not far from us. Then we heard a bag rustling in the bushes, along with a quiet voice telling the dog to shush. The dog wouldn’t stop barking. Every now and again, its owner tried to stop it barking, but she didn’t leave the bush or raise her voice. After thinking back on the events at the castle, Rich came up with a theory – everyone we’d met at the castle had been driven mad by the Gwrach y Rhibyn. Then we heard a strange musical whistling. After standing there, confused and wondering if we were all hallucinating, Hannah worked out what it was – the wind blowing through the holes in Cat’s crutches and turning them into musical instruments. After the experiences we’d had, we wouldn’t have been surprised if the music came from fairies trying to lead us into the perpetual dance.

The trip back to the campsite was a mad rush because we’d arranged to meet Neen at 3 p.m. at Oystermouth and it was already 2:25 p.m. By the time we got back to the campsite, it was about 3 p.m. After guzzling some cake and Red Bull, we were ready to go. Cat was back on her crutches on the way back and had slapped an ice pack on her knee. The rest of our group were too exhausted to come, so we headed out alone.

And got utterly, horribly lost.

Oystermouth Castle

Oystermouth Castle

First off, the AA route planner forgot to mention a T junction then the next instructions were to drive for 4 miles and we’d arrive on Newton Road. We were on the phone to Neen, who was trying to find us on her 3G. She was on Newton Road and according to the road sign, so were we. But we weren’t in the same place. We were wondering whether there was some weird parallel universe thing happening. Turns out, we were above Newton Road, on some sort of fake Newton Road. We had to take a windy downhill road to join Newton Road. Neen was parked opposite the police station. We drove through Oystermouth. No police station. We drove back through Oystermouth. Still no police station. And so began another Calamityville meltdown. Most of that journey will have to be bleeped out. We turned around again and found Neen waiting for us in a junction. We sheepishly followed her to the car park. By this time it was 4:15 p.m. and the castle closed at 5 p.m.

Oystermouth Castle

The prison at Oystermouth

The worker who greeted us was lovely and gave us a map of the castle and told us a bit about it. He was concerned about Cat, as she was on her crutches, but she assured him she’d be fine and we set off. Oystermouth is reputedly haunted by a white lady, with bloodied lashes on her back. The legend is that she was whipped to death and has been seen wandering the grounds, crying. Unfortunately, our tour of the castle was a bit rushed and we only had time to do one EVP session in the prison. The worker told us about other ghosts that had been spotted there – 36 in total. We only wish we’d had more time to explore it properly. As he was ringing the bell for chucking out time, we snuck off for comedy photos with cutout heads.

St Illtyd's churchyard

St Illtyd’s churchyard

Then it was on to St Illtyd’s church in Oxwich, which is supposedly haunted by a Ceffyl Dwr – a water horse. We found no traces of it but the graveyard was stunning, partially set in woods and surrounding a beautiful old church. The horse has been seen by a well in the graveyard. There was no well. Turns out we’re as bad at hunting mythological beasts as we are at hunting ghosts. So we returned to the campsite for a game of Cyclades and more finger pointing rounds of Avalon. Loud music blared out – a band were filming a music video on the beach, complete with floodlights. And they were staying a few tents away from us. They were really good and had a Thirty Seconds to Mars sound to them. After that we were asked by two different people if we were in the band. For some reason, “are you in a band?” is one of the most common questions we’re asked. Guess camping in our best Gothic clothes makes us stand out. Unfortunately, we have the musical talents of an octopus.

Weobley Castle

Weobley Castle

The next morning we packed up, hung out at the campsite for a bit then we headed for Weobley castle while Ryan, Rich and Hannah headed home. We only got lost twice. Once we ended up driving through what appeared to be moors, with ponies and cows guarding the road. We knew we’d gone wrong when the turning right in 0.7 miles didn’t exist over 2 miles later. We turned around and ventured off down country lanes, once again taking another wrong turn before some ramblers pointed us in the right direction. Weobley castle was lovely. We closed the gate behind us, declared the castle ours and kicked out the peasants. At one point we were the only people there. A sign warned visitors to take care to avoid accidents. Cat nearly had two, going over on her ankle which resulted in her nearly falling off the wall we were climbing on. Then she tripped.

Then we tried to get home. With no AA route planner and only an Atlas and our dodgy memories to help us. We figured we’d just retrace our route back to the campsite. It seemed easy. Bad move. We put a call into NASA to see if their satellites could find us and even they shrugged their shoulders and wished us luck. Miles and miles of country lanes and moor type lands later, we found houses and pulled over to stare at the map, trying to look like we knew what we were doing. We clearly weren’t fooling anyone as a nice pensioner came over to offer assistance. He soon pointed us in the right way. So we set off, full of hope.

And promptly got lost.

Weobley Castle

Taking over Weobley Castle

It’s Only Words

Those of you who follow us on Twitter will already know of one of our most recent epic battles. For once it wasn’t with our regular enemies the tax people, Amazon, Power Director or Photoshop. It was with the blurb for Deadly Reflections. In fact, our struggle to overcome this beast was so epic, that one of our tweeps, Tim, even after taking a week off Twitter, asked us how we we were faring as soon as he came back online. It was that brutal.

We spent ages on Amazon reading the product descriptions of countless short story collections; some by famous authors, some by unknowns. Some were ghost story collections, others weren’t. But none of them shifted the block. We spent hours staring at the blank Word document, trying to force the words from our brains, but it was harder than trying to steal chocolate from an angry badger.

It wasn’t down to lack of experience – we’ve written blurbs for every novel/novella we’ve written over the past 18 years. Most of them are kept in A5 notebooks and never even reached the typing up stage. It wan’t even because it’s for a short story collection – we’ve published three and their blurbs were easy. We think the culprits were our conscious brains. 

When we write, we don’t think about what we’re writing. Most of the time we have no idea what we’re going to write; we just put our fingers to the laptop and start typing. Our fingers are linked to our subconscious brains, those shy brains which lurk in the background, keeping notes of everything you see, hear, do, all stored away until you need them. The subconscious brain is a genius. Unfortunately, it’s rarely in charge. But the conscious brain, that’s the one that chatters at you constantly and as every writer knows, it’s impossible to write/edit when someone is talking to you, which is why our family obey the fundamental rule – if we are in the writing shed, that mean we are working. And they do not come in unless absolutely necessary. And that’s what our conscious brains were doing. They were reminding us that the blurb would sell the book, so it had to be good, seeing how much we suck at selling. It had to be enticing, maybe a bit scary, covering every story in the collection without specifically mentioning every one. They told us if we worded it wrong, nobody would buy the book that we’ve spent most of the year slaving over.

The blurb took well over a week to write. It took longer than the two longest stories in collection which are both 7000 words. It was driving us insane. There was only one thing for it – we had to silence our conscious brains. The equivalent of gagging someone who won’t shut up. And when we’re having a hard time, there is always one thing we turn to to help us through the darkshines: My Chemical Romance.

We opened YouTube, blasted MCR songs and waited, fingers poised on the keys. The words began to flow. They didn’t come easily at first, but the more MCR songs we listened to, the easier the words came. But it wasn’t a foolproof plan. The minute the music stopped, so did the words. We had to play the music until the blurb and the longer product description were finished. So if it wasn’t for MCR, the product description box on Amazon would be blank, except for maybe the old expletive.

If you want to read an exclusive extract of the upcoming Deadly Reflections collection, sign up to our newsletter.

This is the blurb and the extra product description :

Death is only the beginning…

You’re born, you live and you die. And sometimes, you come back.

When the veil between life and death is torn down, the darkest souls crawl from the shadows to wander the world that rejected them.

But these are not the restless spirits that haunt the pages of folklore, or the childishly gruesome tales whispered over torchlight. These are the ghosts that dwell in the deepest dungeons of your imagination and prey on you when you think you’re alone: bored ghosts trapped in the monotony of office life at the Scare Department; a haunted jail where the prisoners believe in revenge over rehabilitation; a mirror that steals the souls of whoever falls under its spell; and a ghost bride who makes sure the wedding vows are never broken.

Thirteen stories that prove the monsters in your mind might just be real.

The past is no longer a nightmare.

 

Paranormality – Three ghost hunters exploring an abandoned asylum accidentally awaken it and the ghosts trapped inside its nightmare.

Field of Screams – nobody believes in ghosts anymore. And that’s a problem for the ghosts who work for the Shadow Council’s Scare Department, where Hell is a boardroom run by Jenkins.

The Witching Hour – beneath the moats of Wales, the Gwrach y Rhibyn lurks, ready to whisper the name of those doomed to die, before dragging their souls to Hell.

The Ghost of You – a rock star has a creepy encounter in a graveyard that will haunt him forever.

Fallen Flag – urban explorers investigating an abandoned train station discover it’s haunted by the ghost of a serial killer. And his bloodlust has not been sated.

Memento Mori – the village of Pentref Ysbryd burned down years ago before being flooded. Yet Simeon & Taylor discover that below the lake, the damned village is still alive.

When the Dead Awaken – After a poltergeist vows to kill anyone who enters her house, three ghost hunters try to banish her, only for one them to become possessed by her murderous spirit.

Rest In Peace – Sick of ghost hunters harassing them, two castle ghosts give the Barry Paranormal Group exactly what they want, only to have their plan backfire.

Death Sentence – during a ghost tour of a Victorian jail, the dead prisoners who believe in revenge over rehabilitation awaken to reclaim the jail and execute everyone who disturbed them.

Sea of Souls – a sceptic writer who debunks ghosts waits on lonely cliff for the gruesome ghost of a smuggler.

Deadly Reflections – a haunted mirror sucks the souls from everyone who falls under its spell.

Carnival of the Damned – after discovering tales about a woman being mutilated in an abandoned fairground, uni students decide to recreate it in a film, only to bring the legend to life.

Whiter Shade of Pale – a ghost bride murdered at the altar waits for the perfect groom to lure him into the land of the dead, and ensures the wedding vows are never broken.

MCR – Thank you for the venom.

Deceived

We’re thrilled to be welcoming back Julie Anne Lindsey to Ravens Retreat. If we could, we’d keep her here and never let her leave. Mwahahahahaaaaaaa 😀 On Wednesday she released her new YA suspense novel, Deceived. Check out the trailer here. As people who have suffered from paranoia, we can fully empathise with Elle. And we love her best friend Pixie, who’s a Goth, so we might be a little biased there 😀 It’s got everything you need in a story – great characters, a chilling serial killer and it’s written by one of our favourite people in the world. So check it out now and follow Julie on Twitter, in a nice stalking way, not the creepy stalking way of the Reaper…

 

Deceived Julie Anne LindseyDECEIVED by Julie Anne Lindsey

Ever since she could remember, Elle has had to hop from town to town to keep up with her dad’s demanding career as a corporate insurance agent. Each time, a reoccurring nightmare followed her wherever she went–until the day that the frightening figures haunting her at night became all too real. When news of a serial killer spreads throughout her new school, Elle worries that the Reaper has been leaving her his calling card in the form of cigarette butts on her doormat and an unusual ribbon in her locker. With the help of Brian, a boy she meets at a flea market, she discovers that this isn’t her first encounter with the murderer and that her father has been concealing her true identity for the past twelve years. But despite her father’s desperate attempts to protect her, Elle still comes face to face with the darkness she has been running from her whole life. Trapped in the woods and with help hundreds of miles away, will Elle be able to confront the Reaper and reclaim the life she lost?

Available September 18th on Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository and more.

 

About Julie:

Julie Anne LindseyJulie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. In 2013, Julie welcomed five new releases in three genres including her newest title, DECEIVED, a YA suspense from Merit Press, and her first cozy mystery, MURDER BY THE SEASIDE, book one in the Patience Price, Counselor at Large series from Carina Press (a digital imprint of Harlequin).

Julie is a self-proclaimed word nerd who would rather read than almost anything else. She started writing to make people smile. Someday she plans to change the world. Most days you’ll find her online, amped up on caffeine and wielding a book.

Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Sisters in Crime (SinC) and the Canton Writer’s Guild.

Find her online:

Tweeting her crazy @JulieALindsey

Soothing her book obsession on GoodReads

Pinning the pretty on Pinterest

Tumbling lamely on Tumblr

Blogging about books and writing at Musings from the Slush Pile

Facebook

Treasure Hunting

Avast all ye villainous knaves and scurvy biscuit eaters! Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day and we have some booty to share with you. But the way to the hidden treasure will be filled with quests and only when the quests have been completed, shall ye gain the treasure ye seek. But fear not land lubbers, although ye must travel into unfamiliar waters, the Raven flag will protect you from marauding pirates.  We are not alone on this treasure hunt, for we shall sail with two other pirates. And the treasure? Free ebooks from the good ships Raven, Jeremy Shory and Reece Bridger. Here be portraits of the treasure to be claimed by only the bravest pirates:

Soul Asylum C L RavenThe blood wanted to prick a conscience that couldn’t bleed.

Poe could keep his telltale heart.

I couldn’t hear it beating.

Ravens Retreat harbours a sinister secret. Inside its blackened heart lurk the ghosts of patients and staff who died when the asylum was burned down in 1904. Over a hundred years later, the West wing survives and now the patients want revenge.

Their eternal repose is disturbed by a malevolent poltergeist and the ghost tours led by the asylum’s resident, Phineas Soul, which attract the attention of journalist Mason Strider. His attempts to expose Phineas as a fraud have catastrophic consequences when it is Ravens Retreat’s dark heart that’s exposed as it awakens to claim the lives of those who dare to enter its brutal past.

Some things should never be disturbed.

 

The Onion ChroniclesFate guides him. Magic controls him. Evil awaits him.

When fourteen year old Orion Martins ventures deep into the forest behind his New Hampshire home, he’s quickly lured into a sadistic game of life and death where the prize is the fate of two worlds. After uncovering a hidden land ruled by enchantment and magic, wicked schemes and dark family secrets begin to expose a perilous trail of deception he’s been destined to travel. Can the mysteries trapped inside an ancient journal unlock the enigmas of his past, assuring his victory over an ancient mastermind long believed to have vanished? The board is set and the pieces are ready to be played.

Three weeks ago, Orion knew he would avenge his father’s murder. Three days ago, he knew there was nothing beyond our own unforgiving world. Three hours ago, he knew magic only existed within the depths of his imagination. Three minutes from now, he’ll discover just how wrong he’s been.

The first move has been made. Will Orion risk his own life to save all of ours?

 

 

reeceDuring a ceasefire of a war that has taken more lives than could be considered just, there are shadows of betrayal and deceit lurking in the rays of the morning sun. Something is lingering on the horizon, and it’s hell-bent on destruction, despair and death.

Whatever it may be, it’s driven the Goddess to some very desperate measures.

Life for the Harmon siblings has been hard enough, but now they face responsibilities that they never asked for. They never asked for power. They never asked for a world of monsters. They never asked to come face-to-face with demons, the corrupted of their own people, or their own mortality.

But that is just what they will have to do. They are the chosen heroes of Cornelia, the final hope for order and sanity, the last line of defence against the darkness.

They are the Buan.

 

 

It may be Talk Like  Pirate Day, but we’s be breaking the pirate’s code to tell tales of the rules in English:

The scavenger hunt starts on October 1st and will run for 6 weeks, with a new hunt starting every Tuesday.

Each week there will be 9 questions for you to answer (3 per website) and the answers will be somewhere in our blogs. That’s why it’s a treasure hunt – have to dig for the booty ye scurvy bilge rats!

Once you have discovered the treasure ye seek, reply to whichever blog is hosting the hunt for that week. The first 3 correct replies will win the bundle of 3 ebooks (one from each of us). Once you’ve won, you’re not eligible to win again. We don’t passing ships firing their cannons to steal your booty!

Jeremy and us will also have extra treasure. Somewhere on our blogs will be a hidden link, which when clicked will reward you. On Jeremy’s blog it will be with a free advanced copy of The Orion Chronicles: Curse of the Phantom Brotherhood, which is due out later this year. On our blog, it will be a copy of Deadly Reflections. The link could be hidden in a picture, a word or it could be a particular blog post.

So go forth, prepare your ships, polish your telescopes and tell yer crew you’ll be setting sail soon. Thar be treasure on these shores.

 

To the End

*Stands on Casa Raven battlements with a victory flag and a town crier’s bell* Hear ye! Hear ye! *Drops bell. Watches guiltily as it hits a peasant below* Whoops. Anyhoo, we’d like to announce that our ghost story collection, Deadly Reflections is finished! */* Here’s to never having to read them again! 😀 Though we’re excited about the release now. We think we’ve worked harder on this collection than we have on any other. We started it in March and 8 of the 13 stories were already written. Weirdly, it was the oldest story, which the collection is named after, that caused us the most problems – and that one was published by Dark Fire Fiction a couple of years ago, so technically shouldn’t have needed much work. But now the stories are polished so much we almost blind ourselves when we open them 😀 They’ve also been formatted and are ready to go! The hardest part about finishing them a month early will be stopping ourselves from giving them another edit…

Fans of Calamityville Horror might recognise some of the places that feature in the collection, as a couple of the stories were inspired by our ghost hunting visits. Though obviously they are a fictionalised account – the stories have ghosts in them for a start 😀 As anyone who watches the show will know, ghosts are about the only thing we don’t find. There’s also a strong Welsh link in some of them, which we hope non-Welsh people might find interesting.

We’re bringing them out in print as well. We’ve seen a rough draft of the cover Lizzie’s drawn and it’s just incredible. It’s spooky how in sync our minds are! We gave her free reign on the design and she’s created something that’s perfect. Now that it’s done we’re excited about the project. The trailer’s almost complete *shakes fists at Power Director* The tentative release date is October 13th, as there’s 13 stories and it’s 2013. We like playing with Fate. We can’t wait to see it in print so we can stroke the cover in a totally creepy serial killer way.

Unusually for us, after finishing the formatting, we then took the evening off and chilled out by playing Mortal Kombat 9. Very gory and funny, so it’s the perfect game for us. Anyone else might have taken a break from work in the run up to a release, but  if we’re not working, we’re lost. We got a rejection today – we suspected it would get rejected as there were 1100 entries and the editor had already commissioned some stories so getting in the anthology was slim to start with! But having re-read the story we’re still happy with it so we spent today re-editing it and we’re looking for somewhere else to submit it to. It’s a historical horror and the first of its kind for us. We also found another few horror magazines/anthologies we plan to submit to. And now Deadly Reflections is done we can get back to ghost hunting! Turns out, Pennard Castle in the Gower is haunted by the Gwrach y Rhibyn, who features in one of the stories in Deadly Reflections. We just hope she doesn’t say our names and drag us down to Hell…though it would be warm down there and it’s about time Hell had a new leader…

Nightmare on Mary Ann Street

The Joker, Cardiff Comic Con

this Joker’s smile was genuine

Yesterday we got to do something we’ve wanted to do for ages – attend a Comic Con. Our American friends, particularly Scott & Desi, have attended loads and we’re always jealous of their photos and the cool people they seem to meet. But now it was our turn. Cardiff hosted its first ever Comic Con and as soon as we heard the Iron Throne was going to be there, we booked tickets. Then we found out one of our horror heroes would be there – Robert Englund. Now we had two reasons for going – to sit on the Iron Throne and get a photo with Freddy Krueger. We didn’t care who else would be there.

General Lee, Cardiff Comic Con

General Lee

Then on Wednesday, Cat had her third knee operation. Any sensible person would have missed Comic Con, but the lure of the throne and Freddy was too great. But with the nerves of the operation, we hadn’t planned our outfits. We’d originally planned to go as Miss Freddy Krueger, as we thought it would make a great photo, but we thought everyone would be going as Freddy and we didn’t want to be clones. Then we thought of going as Sweet Pea and Blondie from Sucker Punch – we’ve used those outfits a lot. On Friday, we finally thought up our outfits – creating our own Game of Thrones characters. We’d be from House Raven and dress in black. Our House motto is “They’ll never take us alive!” So we set about creating costumes from our own clothes and using Sweet Pea’s hooded cloak. On the morning of Comic Con, our mum thought of a great addition to our outfits – our ravens. So she constructed a harness to strap them to us and we were ready to go.

James O'Barr Cardiff Comic Con

James O’Barr sketching

We booked the Early Bird tickets and got there at 9:20. The first thing we saw was General Lee. The car was stunning and apparently cost £7000 to restore to the condition it’s in now. Wish we could’ve taken it for a spin but don’t think Comic Con’s organisers would appreciate an arena full of flattened, injured fans, even with the Dixie horn signalling our triumph. We spent a lot of time trying to find the Iron Throne then got distracted when we found the table of James O’ Barr, the creator of The Crow graphic novels.

James O'Barr, Cardiff Comic Con

The Crow creator and House Raven

We stood there watching him sketch, like creepy voyeurs before we bought prints and asked him to sign them. He then agreed to have a photo with us and asked Cat what happened to her knee. We advised him exercise was dangerous and she was living proof of it. He loved the ravens on our shoulders, which of course, is homage to Eric Draven as he’s pictured with the crow on his shoulder.

Iron Throne Cardiff Comic Con

claiming the Iron Throne

We wandered the various stalls. Mostly we couldn’t see much ‘cos we’re pixie sized and the stalls were crowded. You could barely squeeze through the aisles and on crutches this was even harder. People don’t part for the injured. We eventually tracked down the Iron Throne in the foyer and queued. We wanted to sit on together but couldn’t both fit on the seat so took turns sitting on it with the other one resting on the side. House Raven finally conquered the Iron Throne and now the Seven Kingdoms are ours! And we are vengeful rulers. MWAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAA! The other kingdoms will now cower in fear of us and our cuddly ravens.

Cardiff Comic ConOur friend, Scott always takes photos of people in costume, so we were inspired to do the same. So many people asked to have photos taken with us or to take our photo. We now know how the celebrities must feel. We should’ve started charging, earned some Red Bull money 😀 Lots of people complimented our outfits, with one lady even saying they were the best outfits there. There were so many amazing outfits there we don’t think this is true, especially as they were our own clothes 😀 The most popular outfit for girls was Harleyquinn, with their boyfriend as the Joker, but the majority of people weren’t dressed up. There were four Daenerys’s we saw and we nabbed someone dressed as Jon Snow in his Night’s Watch outfit for a photo.

Trevor Steedman, Cardiff Comic Con

Ryan & Trevor Steedman

Ryan got to meet Trevor Steedman, who played Wierzbowski in Aliens. Ryan’s a massive Aliens fan and sitting beside Trevor was Collette Hiller, who played Ferro. They were both lovely. Then it was time for our photo with Robert Englund. We queued upstairs and when we finally got into the room, watched everyone having their photo taken. Most people just smiled, a few men acted scared and Robert was brilliant, wearing his finger knife glove and enjoying himself. Then he spotted us. He called out “2 Goth girls! Fresh meat!” and laughed evilly. How could he tell we were Goths when we were in costume? Clearly our inner Goths are always shining through 😀 Up to that point, we hadn’t heard him speak to anyone. Then we got to the front and asked to both go in the photo. We were the only women who joined in with Robert’s messing around and pulled snarling faces. Then he told us how much he loved our outfits. We told him about nearly coming as Miss Krueger but deciding against it. He said we looked amazing 😀 We were the only ones he spoke to afterwards. He was so nice, really friendly, and the rest of the room had to wait for their photos while he chatted to us 😀

Lance Henriksen Cardiff Comic Con

Ryan and Lance Henriksen

We wandered downstairs again then while Ryan was talking to a stall owner, we went for a walk to ease Cat’s knee pain and Lynx’s back. We reached the back doors then they opened, and one of the men who came through, pointed to us then spoke to the guy beside him. We glanced back. It was Lance Henriksen! Lance pointed at us! Then we saw him having his photo taken with a guy so Lynx dashed back to fetch Ryan. Lance played Bishop in Aliens and we couldn’t let Ryan miss this opportunity. They came back just in time and we took a photo of him and Ryan together then we had a photo with him 🙂 We took tickets for Robert’s autograph but in an hour only 100 people had gone through so we had a long wait. We ended up sitting on the stairs in the foyer as Cat’s knee was too painful to stand up any longer and those who were sitting on the few seats in the arena didn’t offer to give up their seat so she could sit, despite them being able to see her big bandage. The only negative about the event was the lack of seating. There were several people on crutches and plenty of space at the sides for extra seats. Cat had to sit on the floor and when you can’t bend your knee, getting down to the floor is difficult.

Doctor Who, Cardiff Comic Con

hanging out with two Doctor Whos

We kept going back to the autograph queue but we were over 200 people still to go. but after a couple of hours, the lady in charge of the tickets took pity on us and let us in the queue as Cat couldn’t stand up any longer. When we finally got to the front, Robert said “My favourite ladies of this Saturday! How did the photo turn out?” We couldn’t believe he remembered us. He’d had his photo taken with hundreds of people and signed over 300 autographs by this point, yet he remembered us! We showed him the photos and he loved them, commenting on the tongues pose. He then signed one of them with “To C L Raven, sleep killz. Robert B Englund.” 🙂 The reason his queue took so much longer than everyone else’s was because he took the time to speak to every person.

We’ve now got a taste for Comic Con and hope Cardiff host another one. Only this time we’ll be better prepared and hopefully, neither of us will be on crutches.

Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger, Cardiff Comic Con

one, two, Freddy’s coming for you