Romance Is Dead Again

Romance Is Dead C L RavenHappy beheaded saint’s day! Once again we are celebrating/mocking this day of love with our annual collection of anti-Valentine’s stories. Romance Is Dead trilogy is out now! And you can buy it here: Amazon UK Amazon US Smashwords.

Blurb:

Don’t give your lover roses, give them nightmares.

Ten disturbing stories about the dangers of falling in love. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like giving your lover a heart for Valentine’s. Especially when it’s ripped from their body before they’ve drawn their last breath.

“I’d made a terrible mistake. I should have killed him in the shower.”

Gone are the expensive chocolates in fancy packaging, the wilting roses from the petrol station forecourt and the heart-print boxer shorts. Valentine’s is about to get bloody. And some unfortunate lovers will learn the true meaning of ‘til death us do part.’

Real love is worth killing for.

To celebrate we’re giving away a love spoon and a signed copy of Romance Is Dead. The signed copies aren’t here yet but you’ll get them as soon as they’re available. The competition is inspired by a game of Cards Against Humanity we were playing with our mates Tom, Amy & Bryn. All you have to do is finish this Cards Against Humanity card:

‘A romantic candlelit dinner would be incomplete without…’

You can make it as funny/dark/inappropriate as you like. In the game we played, Tom won with ‘oncoming traffic’.

You can comment here with your answers, tweet them to @clraven or comment on our Facebook page. Good luck.

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.

Interview, not with Vampires

After Thursday’s post, which is probably our longest yet, you’ll be pleased to know this one’s brief.  On Tuesday, we had a phone interview with Danielle Wrate from Wrate’s Editing Services. Phone interviews always make us nervous. If you read our last post, you’ll know we had a big problem with using the phone and it still lingers to a certain degree. But whenever something makes us nervous, we hear our psychologist telling us “feel the fear and do it anyway.” So we did the interview. It started off so well – Lynx went to hit the speaker button and accidentally hung up. If you were harbouring any thoughts of us being slick professionals, those should have gone by now. We will never be smooth 😀 Anyway, you can read the interview here. As a bonus, there’s also one of our baby photos in there.

And on Friday, we released Romance Is Dead’s book trailer. Check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt1LUaYL7Yk

Don’t forget – Romance Is Dead will be out on Friday!

It’s A Bug’s Life

Hollywood has bugged our house. Not only our house, but our minds too.

That might sound a tad paranoid, but we can back it up with irrefutable evidence, plus our mum’s witnessed the atrocious crime in action. She laughs every time it happens, but we’re beyond the stage of laughter now. We’re ready to break out the voodoo dolls and stick pins in Hollywood’s unmentionables. We might have to start communicating in code. The trouble with that is that our memories are so bad, we’d forget our own code. Maybe we could trade ideas through the medium of interpretive dance. Though we’re not quite sure what the moves for ‘mermaids butchering sailors’ would be.

Most writers are slightly paranoid – many won’t talk about their ideas for fear of them being stolen. In our case, it happens. Not just once. But many times. And they always release theirs before us, so it looks like we’re copying. We shall now put forth our damning evidence that has been recovered. There may be other example lost in storage somewhere. Evidence has a tendency to go missing. Hollywood has declined to offer a defence.

Exhibit A: Years ago, we wrote a novel called Director’s Cut, about a man, Phoenix, who films every moment of his life and decides to liven it up by killing people. A couple of years after that, we stumbled across a film called Peeping Tom. It’s about a man who films his life and decides to kill people. The film was actually released in 1960, but the point is, we’d never even heard of it until we’d written Director’s Cut.

Exhibit B: When we were teenagers, we wrote a lot of crime fiction, always with serial killers and gruesome, creative murders. One of these books was called Caesar’s Blood, about a killer whose murders imitate deaths in Shakespeare plays, and write passages from the plays on their bodies. Again, some time after finishing the novel, we then discovered a 1973 film called Theatre of Blood, starring Vincent Price. It’s about an embittered Shakespearian actor who kills critics in the same way as characters in Shakespeare plays.

Exhibit C: Last year we released Disenchanted, our collection of horror comedy fairytale retellings. What did Hollywood do? Release three films of fairytale retellings. Then there were the TV series, Grimm and Once Upon A Time. Perhaps they thought the same as us – that the 200 year anniversary of the Grimm fairytales being released was a great opportunity. Whilst they bear no similarities to Disenchanted, it was still annoying.

Exhibit D: Soul Asylum is a gothic ghost novel set in a haunted asylum. The TV series, Bedlam, is about residents who live in a haunted asylum, although Bedlam has been converted into flats. The actual stories are very different, but that’s not the point. Should we go on, or do you want to return your guilty verdict now? Hollywood, have you changed your mind about not entering a defence?

Exhibit E: In Gunning Down Romance, the first story, Kiss of Death, is about a woman who decides to build her own lover out of her favourite body parts of other lovers then resurrects him. In American Horror Story: The Coven, two of the witches rebuild a dead teenage boy out of the best bits of his dead friends then resurrect him. The ONLY saving grace with this tale of woe, is that Gunning Down Romance was released first, in 2012. However, not many people have read that, whereas thousands have watched American Horror Story and if they were to magically find GDR, they would think we plagiarised it.

Exhibit F: As many of you know, we wrote a novel, Bleeding Empire, based on the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It’s actually been longlisted for the Exeter Novel Award, which we forgot to mention on here. Anyhoo, the TV series, Sleepy Hollow (which we LOVE) has who as Ichabod Crane’s enemies? You’ve guessed it. The goddamn friggin’ horsemen.

Exhibit G: In Romance Is Dead (which is being released on February 14th) our returning killer, Trey, has upgraded from mannequins and living dolls to puppets. Specifically human marionettes. And he makes them perform a play. Last night, we were watching Criminal Minds. The bad guy made human marionettes and forced them to perform a play. We were just about ready to Hulk-smash our way through  Cardiff. And of course, that episode has been out a while, (we’re a bit behind on our viewing) so to everyone else, it looks like we’ve copied it. It’s even more irritating because we’d been trying to come up with the final Trey & Sol story for months, and trying to think of his evolution as a killer, yet it’s already been done and we can’t change ours.

And there, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is our evidence. We suggest you examine each piece and return a verdict of guilty and sentence Hollywood to a lifetime of servitude, turning everything we write into films or epic TV series. We’ll be in our chambers, making foil hats.

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.