Valentine’s Day Massacre

Southcart BooksEvery year, we turn Valentine’s Day red. With blood. Last year, we released all three anti Valentine’s trilogies in print, ending our opportunity to ruin the day. We were sad. Who doesn’t love marching up to the most romantic day of the year, ripping out its heart and hoisting it aloft like a trophy? Then Scott Carter, who owns Southcart Books  in Walsall with his wife, Amy, decided to host the Valentine’s Day Massacre and asked if we’d like to read. Does Freddy Krueger love bedtime? We were glad to celebrate Valentine’s in a horror-related way. Otherwise we might end up sneaking into supermarkets and replacing roses with venus flytraps and giving teddies real hearts to hold. Reading at Southcart Books would not see us having to explain our actions in court.

Southcart Books

authors’ books

Surprisingly for us, we didn’t get lost. The journey was easy and uneventful. Well, we drove into a pedestrian zone, but everyone’s come to expect that from us, seeing as we’ve now done it four times. But we soon realised our error when we saw a paved dead end and Primark at the end. Please England, put bollards up. It takes all our self-control not to Hulk out on people on a daily basis, we can’t be expected to control ourselves around pedestrian zones too. We’re not superheroes. We hastily reversed from the pedestrian zone and found a car park easily. Only to then walk past a closer car park that was 50p cheaper. We’re still annoyed.

Southcart Books

Adam, Amy and Scott

Southcart Books

Southcart BooksSouthcart Books is an awesome independent book shop, filled with thousands of books. It was hard not to buy them all. But we were good. We only bought three. In true us form, our shyness and social awkwardness kicked in and we spent some time hiding in the storeroom. This was a technique we perfected in childhood and even though we’ll be 33 on Wednesday, it is still serving us well. We eventually emerged and lurked at the Supernatural/Occult section. We’re good at lurking. You could even say we’re natural at it. We have the awkward body language and shifty eye movements down perfectly. Even though we’ve made huge progress with the social anxiety, the shyness is innate and will never be defeated. So in social events, we will always be the people in the corner. We’ll never approach anyone. Even if it’s someone we know. Hell, we don’t even send friendship requests on Facebook. ‘Mingle’ is one of those words that incites the same panic as ‘flying spider’, ‘rabid clown’ and ‘inquisitor’s chair.’

Adam Millard

Adam Millard

The event was hosted by Adam Millard, who was hilarious and the perfect choice to host it. We loved his stories about stalking and robots. They appealed to our sense of humour. They were absolutely fantastic and we wanted him to read for longer! We’re glad we were on before him – had we been reading after him, we might have locked ourselves in the storeroom and refused to come out. We bought two of his books afterwards and can’t wait to read them. We met at Bristol Horror Con in October but didn’t get a chance to buy his work then.

First up was Kerry Hadley, reading from her book The Black Country, about a separating couple who accidentally run someone over, but when they return to look for him, he’s nowhere to be found. That act then binds them together. She did a great job.

Kerry Hadley

Kerry Hadley

Southcart Books

Photo by Craig Beas

Then it was us. Everyone else was so confident and seemed really comfortable doing the reading. Natural, like they’d been doing it for years. There was us, hiding in the storeroom beforehand! And we have been doing readings for a few years! We read from Romance is Dead, our aforementioned horror comedy anti-Valentine’s trilogies. We read a short extract from all 10 stories. By ‘short extract’, each one was about 90 seconds. We were paranoid if we read longer than that for each story that people might get bored and leave! If anyone’s going to leave, we’d rather it was because they were frightened of our twisted minds, not because of boredom. Yes, we filmed our reading, complete with nerves and cock-ups. We only picked the extracts last week and the lack of preparation shows.

Southcart Books

Photo by Craig Beas

Jessica Law

Jessica Law

Next it was Jessica Law, who sang three songs whilst playing the ukele and told funny anecdotes about her relationships, most notably featuring biscuits. She sang about an impolite housemate and a love song between Jekyll and Hyde. She also makes octokitties (kittens with tentacles) and has written a gothic novel. It was refreshing to hear about someone else who has disastrous social encounters, though she managed to make hers sound sweet and funny. Ours are just embarrassing.

Ash Hartwell

Ash Hartwell

Following her was Ash Hartwell, who read a story about a murderous snowman who was obsessed with a female ghost hunter. She can’t understand why there are puddles in her house until she sees him watching her. Always knew snowmen were creepy.

Antony N Britt

Antony N Britt

Antony N Britt read a brilliantly funny story about revenge. An old womanshows up at her meeting to find all the others dead – poisoned by cake. As she examines the bodies, her sister walks in and reveals a terrible secret. It was one of our favourite stories of the day.

Jon Hartless

Jon Hartless

Following him was Jon Hartless, who writes under many pseudonyms, including Ora Le Brocq. He read a funny story written under his paranormal romance pseudonym, about a fairy who was meant to convert a human but ends up falling for him.

Ken Preston

Ken Preston

Then it was Ken Preston, who read two stories. One was from his Joe Coffin series about gangsters and vampires and the other was about two friends on a double date night with their girlfriends. One of the girls challenges the driver to perform dangerous driving while blindfolded, which later destroys the friendships and many years later, has serious consequences for another driver.

Daniel Oram

Daniel Oram

And finally it was Daniel Oram, who read a letter from a vampire, complete with bloody fingerprints, and the opening of his novel about a goth girl who turns into a werewolf.

It was a fantastic event, which proved really popular. All the authors read really well and were very entertaining. Southcart Books host many author events, so if you’re ever around, they’re well worth visiting, as is the shop. It’s great that they really care about the authors as well as books and are happy to stock local and unknown authors who normally wouldn’t get their work into bookshops. We had to resist from spending all our money. There were some beautiful editions that we were tempted by, even though we already own those books. It’s everything an independent book shop should be and we’d love to go back.

book shop selfie!

book shop selfie!

 

 

 

Cover Story

Those of you who have been with us for a while will know that every year we like to rip out Valentine’s Day’s heart with our anti-Valentine’s trilogies. When we wrote Gunning Down Romance, it was going to be a stand-alone book. But then we discovered a macabre love of butchering this romantic day and decided to write a trilogy of trilogies. So many people asked if it was in print that this year we haven’t written a new one, but have instead combined the three trilogies into one print book, with a bonus story featuring the only returning character, Trey. Trey was a returning character by accident. When we wrote Still Life in Bad Romance, it was going to feature a character called The Artist. But after we’d finished it, we realised The Artist was Trey. He’d sneaked in without us noticing. And we haven’t been able to get rid of him.

So without further ado, here is the stunning cover *opens curtains with a flourish. Gets tangled.* Bollocks.

Romance Is Dead C L Raven

It was designed by Mark Stone. You can follow him on Twitter here, like his Facebook page here and check out his website here. We only asked him to do the cover on Thursday and he’d finished it the next day so we’d have plenty of time to promote it. You can’t ask for better service than that. We love how he’s incorporated the style of the other covers into a new look. We can’t wait to see it in print. It will be released on Valentine’s Day, so if like us, you enjoy seeing Valentine’s covered in blood, you don’t have long to wait.

Real love is worth killing for.

Romance Isn’t Dead

Romance is Dead C L RavenWhether you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s the traditional way by beheading a saint, or the modern way by buying roses, we’re going to celebrate  by releasing Romance Is Dead! Buy it here – Amazon US  Amazon UK  Smashwords

Blurb:

Three dark stories that won’t give your lover butterflies, but nightmares. A fallen goddess enacts gruesome revenge on anyone who wrongs her; an artist turns a romance play into a horror story; and a hopeless romantic ensures his lovers live forever. They all share one belief: real love is worth killing for.

Finally, the last book in the anti-Valentine’s trilogy is out. It’s a sad moment. We’re going to miss our bloody attack on this romantic day. But like all monsters, this might not be the end. We’re thinking of releasing a print version next year with the three books combined, plus a bonus story. Perhaps a Trey prequel.

Siren's CallBut that’s not all. We have another gift for you. No, it’s not someone’s ripped out heart. Strangely, we couldn’t find any willing sacrifices. Our mermaid story, A Mermaid’s Kiss, has been published in Siren’s Call’s Women In Horror issue and it’s FREE to download! Download it here  We love their Miss Voorhees cover.

Love Kills

Today we have TWO treats for you. And people think the run up to Valentine’s Day brings out our…unpleasant sides 😀 First up, the cover reveal for Romance is Dead. We’re very excited about it. Ryan from Love Your Covers has done an incredible job as always. We told him exactly what we wanted and he delivered 🙂 So feast your eyes! *claps for the spotlight to come on. Glares. Claps harder. Stomps over and switches the damn thing on ourselves.*

Romance is Dead C L Raven

And now for your second treat 🙂

Bad Romance C L RavenTo continue our Bloody Valentine’s celebration in the run up to Romance Is Dead’s release on Feb 14th, the second book in the trilogy, Bad Romance will be FREE from today until Friday. You can get it here:

Amazon US Amazon UK

When we first started writing the second story, Still Life, the main character was originally an unnamed character called The Artist. But as we redrafted it, we found the narration very similar to Trey’s from ‘Til Us do Part in Gunning Down Romance. Then we realised it was Trey, trying to force his way into the second book. The more we thought about it, the more we realised it made sense – the models were Trey’s evolution. We surrendered and rewrote parts of the story to accommodate Trey and Sol. We’re glad we did. It seemed we couldn’t let go of Trey any more than he could let go of his former lovers.

Watch the trailer here 

Here’s the blurb:

Three disturbing stories about the dangers of falling in love – an incompetent Cupid prepares for Valentine’s Day, but his arrows melt faces, not hearts; a man’s art exhibition conceals a macabre secret; and a betrayed bride makes unfaithful lovers regret their vow of ’til death us do part’. All their victims are bound by an unsettling truth – too much love can kill you.

Master of Puppets

On Friday, we finished editing one of our older novels, Legion of the Damned. We wrote it in 2008 (we think) but after writing Bleeding Empire, thought it would be a good idea to release it as Bleeding Empire’s sequel. Legion features demons that have escaped from Hell and have cool powers. Think evil superheroes but without the capes and their own action figures. The problem was, it was 162,000 words. It needed to go on a major diet. So we starved it, forced it into a gym and cracked the whip until it broke into sweat and begged for mercy. When we were close to the end, we realised the document was missing 6 chapters. The novel was in fact 185,000 words. After a brief swearing fit, we carried on hacking through it with our machete. Also known as the delete button. In the end we managed to cut 63,000 words. So it’s still too long and still needs a lot of work. Probably a major rewrite in some parts. We used to like this book.

Most people, after finishing a novel edit would probably take a few days off. On Saturday, we were at a loss of what to do. So we wrote the final story for Romance Is Dead, the final part of the anti-Valentine’s trilogy. This story (unnamed) will conclude the Trey and Sol story. If you haven’t read Gunning Down Romance and Bad Romance, you have until February 14th. They’re only 77p/99c. The title Master of Puppets would’ve been perfect but that’s a story in Disenchanted, so like most of our stuff, it will probably remain title-less until near publication. They are our nemesis.

We were discussing Trey’s progression from mannequins to paralysed models and wanted to continue the trend. We both said “puppets” at the same time. When the Twin Power is switched on, it really is useful. Today we read through ‘Til Death us do Part and Still Life, which feature Trey and Sol, to make sure we had Trey’s narrative voice right. Turns out, puppets are mentioned in both stories. It’s like past us planted Easter Eggs to hint at things to come. It would’ve been nice if past us had told future us about this. We’ve been trying to think up a plot since August. But still, it makes us look clever. Even if it was by accident.