But, but, I don’t like reading horror…

I stopped reading horror many years ago. After I gorged on it during my teens, exhausting everything Stephen King and James Herbert produced and ending up disappointed at King’s inconsistency and Herbert’s scare-by-numbers writing, I gave up on the genre. I remember saying quite recently in public that I just don’t do horror.

Of course, it has been pointed out to me that there are elements of horror in my Beauty and the Bastard. And now I come to think of it, there are more elements of it in both the novels I have coming out in the next few months. So obviously I didn’t really give up on it. I just gave up on a certain type of it, or maybe a certain era of it.

My conversion to this way of thinking was complete last week when I read two recently published horror books by my friends and Etopia stable mates, Steve Emmett and Julia Kavan.

Diavolino is a darkly delicious read. Steve Emmett takes a pleasant, innocent, happy family from their life of comfort and safety, promises them a wonderful journey, then throws them headlong into hell. The horror is relentless. The hairs on the back of my neck are still up! You can buy it here.

Dreaming, Not Sleeping is a gorgeous short story of erotic horror, sweet and sinful and breathtaking. You can buy it here.

Ronnie Bridger

Today is the 49th anniversary of the day my father died, just before his 30th birthday and just after my 5th. The elders of my family say dad was the spitting image of Clark Gable. I only have distant childhood memories and some photographs to go on, but the pics confirm there was indeed a striking resemblance. It’ll be his birthday on Monday, actually. He was born on the 29th February in a leap year but celebrated his birthday on the 28th in other years. He’d be 79 this year. I wonder what his middle-and-old ages would have been like. I think he must have been a good man, even taking into account the natural legend-building tendencies of families.

Some time ago, I wrote this to him:

I remember you from photographs and family stories. You, at the helm of the old yacht you renovated and learned to race and lost in that bad Fastnet year. He thought the pipe made him look older. You, skiing in Germany. Two years of love letters upstairs in a box. You and mum, signing the register in retouched Technicolor. Aunt Edna always said he looked like Clark Gable. You, holding the infant me in faded black and white. He cried the night you were born. You were dead by the time I could walk my own road, but later I saw your face every day in my shaving mirror. Did I grow my beard to escape from your long shadow? And did I go to sea to find my own legend in waves taller than yours? How can a man compete with perfection?

The Bitter Seed of Magic – Suzanne McLeod

I’ll say right off that Suzanne is my friend, so of course I’m thrilled to bits at the success of her Spellcrackers.com series. But I also consider her to be the best British urban fantasy author, bar none. She’s brilliant. And Genny is my favourite British heroine.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Bitter Seed and can tell you this series goes from strength to strength. It’s available everywhere in the UK now, and Gollancz have also released an export version.


Highly recommended. And if you haven’t read any of the series yet, you have a real treat in store. Go get them now and dive right into Genny’s world!

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