Hey folks, welcome to the Ginger Nuts of Horror's newsletter, some of you may remember many many moons ago, our long and forgotten newsletter. Sadly life got in the way, combined with, what was in those days, a really annoying and clunky way of creating the newsletter. It will come as no surprise to those that know me, that I despise clunky and annoying things, it got so frustrating to create a newsletter, that I ditched the whole idea.
Some of you may be wondering why I have resurrected our newsletter, and to be honest, there is a small part of my brain wondering the same thing, it's not like I am stretched to the limit to keep up with the content on the website, it's 4am of my seventh day of my February holiday and that's seven days in a row I have been getting up at 2am to catch up with the admin side of the site.
However, the new newsletter function of Twitter, looks like it is going to be easy to use, with the minimum amount of effort to add content. The biggest hurdle is actually deciding on what content to add to the newsletter. I don't have time to create unique content, and other than adding in the articles posted during the week, just in case some of you may have missed any of them, I really wasn't sure what to add to the newsletter.
And then it struck me, go back to the roots of why this website was set up, to promote horror, there is a huge wealth of great content out there, and while there may be a lot of cross over between the readership of review websites, and the authors that we all cover, there is still a lot of gaps in the market.
That's when I decided on using this newsletter and our reach on social media and our rather nice google ranking to help drive traffic and potential readers to as many other sites out there as possible.
This is where some of you come in, if you have anything that you would like us to add to our newsletter, a review, article, interview, or if you are an author or filmmaker, news about your latest project, or even news about your own newsletter then drop us a line. Basically if you have something to do with horror, and you want us to share it send it our way.
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We will strive to add to that week's newsletter, obviously we can't space limiations will determine just how much we can add to each newsletter, but we aim to give as much space as possible to all of you.
All I ask is if possible could you make it as simple as possible for me to add your item to the newsletter y trying to follow these guidelines
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The RSS feed is a nice new touch which wasn't available the last time I tried to do a newsletter and it now allows me to just click on each individual article to add it to the newsletter.
In return all i ask from those who appear in the newsletter is that you share the link to the newsletter on your social media, when each one goes live featuring your article, I'll post one tweet and one post to Facebook when the newsletter goes live.
As to when it goes live I still have to decide on this, I'm thinking Sundays, as this is the most common day of the week that I have off from work, and it is the day where there generally isn't a post going up on the site. But as with all things I'll suck it and see, and if another day seems to be more appropriate I'll move it to that day.
This is a learning experience for me, and I can be a very slow learner. With some luck this newsletter can make a difference, and we can help to share all of the great work from you lovely horror folks.
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Places have scar tissue too…so does that mean they have a memory?
It’s not just man-made constructs which remember horror in the thickness of the walls and the slant of the tiles; so does nature – be it an ancient tree, or a poppy field, or a neglected vegetable garden. You could argue the darkness is being projected by the onlooker, but is it?
The Gothic genre has seen great writers, like Poe for example, make buildings a central character in a dark narrative, such as The House of Usher. It’s visits like the one I made recently to Shrewsbury prison, now a visitor attraction, which convinced me of the indelible thumbprint of history in inanimate constructs.
I think flawed characters make the most interesting ones, and buildings -or settings – marked by a dark history, have a similar appeal. The interaction of the two create great narratives in my view.
My horror novel, Rosie Shadow, book one in the Black Tongue Series is inspired by this idea. It’s set in a prison complete with Medieval dungeon.
Check me and the horror book out here – and next time you’re near an ancient yew tree, or a canal bridge, stop a while…
‘Whatcha crying for, sissy? Why don’t you grow a pair?’ Rosie says to her mother...‘Send me to school and I’ll rip off your arm! Beat you with the stump.’
Abandoned by her terrorised mother at the age of six, Rosie Shadow will do anything to win the affection of her father Archie, an undead cannibal in charge of Her Majesty's Prison Shrewsbury, now operating as a visitor attraction.
Clare is sent reeling into Archie’s arms with the grief of losing her boyfriend in a mysterious car accident when he collides with an ancient yew tree.
The secrets in the Medieval dungeon beneath the prison are under threat when Clare becomes suspicious of Archie’s true identity and his progeny.
Rosie Shadow is the first book in The Black Tongue Series, a gripping horror thriller by the author of Rachel's Garden, The Entrepreneur, Willow Weeps and Distorted Days.
'Readers of Stephen King, Ania Ahlborn and C.J. Tudor will love it!'
Feminine power can be a terrifying thing to people who are scared of sharing their space in the world. Throughout history, non-conforming women, reluctant to practice a patriarchal religion, were considered witches. Many were hung for their crimes, whether or not they demonstrated any supernatural powers.
Let me begin by saying: you don’t have to de-trope anything. If you’re a writer of witchy horror, or gothic horror, or historical fiction with a focus on witches and witchcraft, don’t change a thing if you’re happy. Write about what fascinates you, what lights that fire deep within your soul. I’m not here to convince you to cast your favorite witchy tropes into a fiery cauldron when planning your next witch-based horror novel. There’s a place for tropes, and we’ll see if they’re right for you.
Genre, by definition, employs similar style and subject matter, so you might not, if you want to sell books, wish to part with formulaic tropes. I learned this the hard way from 2012-2018 during a time when I was going through a divorce and making it on my own as a mom of three. I turned to writing erotic romance to pay bills. I’d never written “steamy romance” before and had never even been a fan of romance (yikes, and I was writing for romance readers). But because I heard there was good money to be made, I dove in headfirst with the intention of learning. How hard could it be? I’d be writing about men and women falling in love (I could write that). They would have sex (I can write that). They have issues to overcome (I could definitely write that). At the end of the story, however, they overcome them.
I studied the genre and long story short, ended up writing for bestselling romance authors, even writing a few of my own under a pen name. Once I got cocky, I started thinking of ways I could re-invent the genre, and first place I would start was by ditching the horrible alpha male. I didn’t care for the alpha male. I thought (judgingly) that women who loved this archetype were weak and anti-feminist, and therefore I sought to change him into a more relatable, fun-loving, intelligent, feminist beta male. A more modern steamy romance, yeah!
I got crucified.
How dare I try to change the well-loved alpha? Romance readers love their alphas. Don’t fuck with the alpha male. Don’t fuck with the formula. The whole point of the genre is that alpha males create a challenge for the heroines. They’re seen as sexy for wanting to protect the women. They’re actually quite loving in their own way when you get to know them. Most of their assholic behavior is a defense mechanism for past pain anyway. And they usually end up being more feminist than you think. I had to swallow a pill and shut the fuck up. I went back to writing alpha males. It’s what the readers wanted, and I was NOBODY to try and change that.
Now, let’s look at witchy lit. There are tropes here, too, and one popular piece of advice for writers is to stay away from cliché. While this sounds good in theory, you have to ask yourself this question: Who am I writing for? Myself and others like me? Or a wider audience?
If you answered “myself and others like me,” then write whatever your heart desires. Write that bizarre, half sci-fi, half romance, 4-person POV, alternating 1st-person and 3rd person omniscient narrative, anti-formulaic autofiction story about a monster who isn’t a monster. But if you’re writing for a wide, mainstream audience, don’t forget what happened to me when I tried to get rid of the alpha male in a genre that is about…the alpha male.
Switch the landscape to witchy lit. Giving readers what they want here means writing stories about Salem descendants, non-human women who hold supernatural powers, and odd-behaving or looking outsiders who live on the fringe and are not accepted by society. This is what the people want, and as a writer, you’re a representative, an ambassador of story. So write All the Witchy Things.
However, if you’re like me at this point in my 20-year career, you want balance. On one hand, I want to be true to myself, be unique, and offer new ideas in the genre, but I also want to make money from my books by giving a mainstream, commercial audience what they want. This means I’ll have to reconcile my own vision of what witchy horror novels should be vs. what pleases other readers. I’ve read a lot of witchy literature, since witchcraft is of interest to me and because I’m a practicing witch, but in finding my own voice, I had to decide whether or not to include the most common tropes. I can’t tell you what to do, and I can’t tell you what’s write. I can only tell you what each trope means to me and whether or not I use it in my stories:
Witchcraft as Symbol of Feminine Power:
Feminine power can be a terrifying thing to people who are scared of sharing their space in the world. Throughout history, non-conforming women, reluctant to practice a patriarchal religion, were considered witches. Many were hung for their crimes, whether or not they demonstrated any supernatural powers. Just the act of thinking for oneself was enough cause to be demonized. Men who thought for themselves were considered visionaries with heroic qualities, whereas women who thought for themselves were portrayed and treated as evil. It’s a tale as old as time, but does it belong in modern witchy lit?
Yes. The idea of a person harboring a hidden power deep inside their soul, one that’s squelched and yearning to be free, that can change the world for the better, is at the heart of any witchy literature. It’s the story of the oppressed, the browbeaten quiet ones asked to remain quiet, anyone wishing to be free in any storytelling form that may take. Feminine power is about manifestation, bringing goals to life and fruition, and that is a power capable of changing the world. And who rules the world? Men. Feminine power is a threat.
But do witches need to be women?
No. The world is full of masculine power and feminine power and neither has anything to do with gender. It’s about energy. Anyone accessing their inner strengths to enact a change in their environment, whether a positive or a negative one, can identify as a witch. In my book, MOON CHILD, I write about male witches, female witches, nonbinary witches, and witches from all sorts of cultural backgrounds. One only needs to be an underdog who learns to harness energy to be a witch.
Witchcraft as Girl Power:
It’s 2021, and even now, I keep hearing how little girls should hear that they can do anything in this male-dominated world. I don’t disagree. They do. But it’s not new. I will be 50 years old this year, and since the 1970s, I have been hearing this empowering axiom. As a 4th and 5th grade teacher during my twenties and thirties, every little girl I ever had the pleasure of meeting knew this. We’ve all grown up knowing we can be anything they want. We are not children of the 50s when women were housewives and little more. Today’s young women DO see their mothers in positions of power. Maybe not perfectly equal, but we’re getting there. Madame Vice-President, anyone?
So, I think we need to move our focus from telling little girls that they can be anything they want to telling queer children, gay children, Black children, Jewish children, Hispanic children, children with ADHD, children with disabilities, and so on that THEY can be anything. But more than that, show them HOW. Modern stories about witchcraft need to elucidate to young readers just how a witch finds her/his/their power, where to find it, how to access it, and when to use it in a complicated world on the cusp of dismantling its old ways.
Witches as Descendants of Salem and/or Celtic by Culture:
The persecution of women in Anglo-Saxon England and the New World during Puritan times is an unfortunate chapter in history, but because we’ve heard it so many times, witches are often portrayed as Celtic or Germanic in culture. Many books also feature protagonists who are direct descendants of Salem witches. Nothing wrong with that, but the truth is, witches come from anywhere. Every culture has its medicine women, its midwives, its spiritual healers who don’t follow conventional methods or ideologies. In MOON CHILD, my character Valentina encounters white Celtic witches, Seminole witches, male witches, Black Haitian witches, non-binary queer witches, and she herself is a Latina witch from Cuban and European ancestry. We are everywhere, so this is one trope I probably won’t be using anytime soon.
Since we’re here, not every witch protagonist needs to be descended from a long line of other witches. And while we’re also here, not every witch protagonist needs to be a single woman too strong and too feminist to be in a romantic relationship.
Danger from Meddling in Magic:
I read lots of stories where the witch protagonist is warned not to use her magick, for if she does, she is sure to have it backfire on her, thereby bringing mayhem and disarray to the world. Look, magick is symbolic of feminine power, so this comes from the days of little girls being told to shush. Don’t have ideas. Don’t read. Don’t think. Don’t contribute. Just have babies, the most powerful instinct for furthering the human race. I thought long and hard about this when writing MOON CHILD. On one hand, I wanted Valentina to fear using her magick, because she was told all her life not to use it. As Valentina grows, however, she realizes the real danger and horror of the story, comes not from the magick, but from her deep well of suppressed pain and anger. Magick, in my story, is just a vehicle for accessing her hidden rage.
Witches as Wiccan/Pagan:
Let’s get something straight—a witch is someone who practices witchcraft, the manipulation of energy for a desired end result. There’s nothing religious about it. If anything, witches are anti-religious by definition. They go against the grain, remember? So yes, you can be Wiccan and practice witchcraft, but you can also be Christian and practice witchcraft. How’s that for overthrowing stereotypes? In fact, most Christians do without realizing it. Anointing a newborn with holy water is a ritual to symbolize the washing away of sin. Anointing a person with oil is a ritual to symbolize consecration. I know I don’t need to tell you that bringing an evergreen Christmas tree into the house is itself a pagan ritual of Yule, symbolizing that the warmth of the sun and springtime will one day come again.
Since we’re talking about religion and witchcraft, many witches in literature and media are portrayed as being in cahoots with the Devil, but most witches (except for the Christian ones I mentioned) do not believe in Judeo-Christian deities, therefore they don’t believe in Satan either. In other words, witches may or may not be religious, and they may or may not believe in God or Satan, so no, they don’t have to be pagan.
Witches as Having a Magickal Toolkit:
Not all witches have a Book of Shadows or grimoire, and not all literature witches are protecting an old volume of family recipes handed down over generations. It’s a lovely trope, and I love stories involving strong familial ties, but I don’t think all witches need this, as not all witches are descended from a long line of powerful women. Some are just discovering their powers now. Some are looking to separate themselves from their familial ties. Some are the first of their generation. And almost all modern witches know that magick doesn’t come from herbs, crystals, Tarot cards, pendulums, smudge sticks, or grimoires—it comes from intention. Your brain is the most powerful tool you’ll need to manifest a result, and everything else in your toolkit are just tools.
Witches as Not Fitting In:
Most stories about witches describe a lonely woman who lives alone in the fringe, in a forest, in a lonely shack by the sea, frowned upon by society, and while this is central to the idea of being different, it’s been done. And done so well, I don’t feel the need to compete against those tales. In my stories, the central characters are a little odd, yes, but they function in society. If anything, they’re realizing they don’t belong, don’t want to be in society the way it currently exists. They want change. They normalize feminine power, the access of intuition, and the practice of witchcraft. Ask any astrologer, and they’ll tell you we are entering (if not there already) the Age of Aquarius where kindness, compassion, and sensitivity are becoming the norm. Empathy rules. Caring for others rules. The old establishment of aggressive masculine power is over. Witchcraft is becoming normalized. All you have to do is look at the rise of witchy fiction on the shelves, check out the plethora of witchcraft accounts on Instagram, listen to more and more teen witches talking about energy, meditation, salves to heal any number of ailments, and getting in tune with their herb gardens to know we have turned a page.
So, while some readers will always love the same-old witchy tropes, I try to re-examine them, modernize them. I don’t write about Salem witches, because that’s been done so beautifully by others. Plus, my stories are in the “new adult” category where modern protagonists aged 18-21 navigate an ever-changing and complicated world, where they carve out their own spaces to fit, and demonstrate how becoming a witch and becoming the human they wish to be are synonymous with each other. It’s about finding that hidden truth inside of you. My stories are about gifted young people deciding the kind of society they want to live in and doing the necessary landscaping to reshape their world. This is less about “de-troping” than it is about re-imagining, which is exactly where I want to be.
The Craft meets The Shining in this slow-burn Florida gothic horror. 18-year-old Cuban-American Valentina Callejas was raised to do what her Catholic grandparents say to do. But Valentina feels a different pull--an affinity with nature, a desire to read tarot cards and study the occult. After ditching her church retreat, Valentina flees home and ends up five hours away at Macy’s house, a half-sister she’s never met until now.When a mysterious wolf leads Valentina to the abandoned Sunlake Springs Resort, she meets the “clairs,” young psychics drawn to the hotel’s haunted history. They’ve been waiting for her, they say, to open a magical entryway to the spirit world. But Valentina’s sensitive hands tell a different story--of anguished spirits, menacing cracks, and hooded ghosts of Florida’s hateful past. Even a local legend, the beautiful “Lady of the Lake,” hints to the hotel’s sinister history. To protect the clairs from the horrors awaiting them on the other side, Valentina must use her growing powers and decide, once and for all, if she’s the witch she was always meant to be.
GABY TRIANA is the bestselling author of 17 novels for teens and adults, including the Haunted Florida series (Island of Bones, River of Ghosts, City of Spells), Wake the Hollow, Cakespell, Summer of Yesterday (a tribute novel to Walt Disney World's River Country), and Paradise Island: A Sam and Colby Story. She's a short story contributor in Don't Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute Anthology to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a flash fiction contributor in Weird Tales Magazine, and the host of a horror-based YouTube channel called The Witch Haunt. Published with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Permuted Press, & Entangled, Gaby writes about witchy powers, ghosts, haunted places, and abandoned locations and has ghostwritten over 50 novels for bestselling authors. Her books have won IRA Teen Choice, ALA Best Paperback, and Hispanic Magazine's Good Reads Awards. She lives in Miami with her family and is at work on her next novel.
Visit her at www.GabyTriana.com
YT: The Witch Haunt
Ginger Nuts of Horror is proud to bring you the cover reveal for Wild Hunters by Stuart R Brogan, Published by Horrific Tales Press, who never fail to bring you horror loving book readers, an excellent reading experience.
wild hunters by stuart r brogan
Amid the worst storm in living memory, five Royal Marine reservists and a handful of civilians battle to survive. But mother nature and the heavily armed mercenaries hunting them are the least of their concerns. A seemingly unstoppable Pagan force has been unleashed from the darkest depths of our ancient past - a phenomenon that will stop at nothing to see humanity reduced to ashes. Low on ammo, no chance of rescue and surrounded by the unspeakable, it's going to be 24 hours from hell. Let the hunt begin
cover art by Ben Baldwin
Stuart R Brogan is a former nightclub Bouncer and unwaveringly proud Heathen who loves nothing more than expanding people's minds with Pagan related Non-Fiction or blowing people's brains out with fast-paced, gut-wrenching Horror / Thrillers.
Harley lover, extreme metal drummer & avid movie nerd, Stuart has never followed the crowd but instead carved his own path and danced to his own tune.
Since his early years, Stuart found escapism in both the written word and the silver screen. A huge fan of 80's Action / Horror movies such as The Thing, Aliens, Predator & Die Hard and literary heroes such as Shaun Hutson, Clive Barker. Richard Layman and Brian Lumley, Stuart endeavours to bring an unapologetic cinematic eye to his fiction in the hopes of rekindling his childhood sense of wonder, all while blowing through vast amounts of ammunition down his local shooting range.
After impressing critics and fans with his self-released debut novel JACKALS & novella SCALLYWAG, he didn't hesitate in signing a deal with horror publisher J Ellington Ashton / Wetworks for his third release, the cosmic / Lovecraftian horror GODDESS which saw Stuart expand into the realms of audio as well as print and kindle.
As of September 2020, Stuart will be releasing a short story via Terrortract LLC as well as signing contracts with the well renowned UK based Horrific Tales publishing, his first title of which is due for release in 2021. With more novels, novellas and short stories on the go, 2021 is going to be a bloodbath.
Stuart currently resides in Glastonbury, UK with his long-suffering wife and man-eating Shih-Poo dog "Poppy" where he owns a kick-ass Viking / Asatru shop, fiercely named "Wyrdraven"
I can remember exactly where and when I was when I first picked up Daniel Farson’s The Hamlyn Book of Horror. It was Christmas Eve 1982 and I was seven years old. Myself, my mum and my little sister were in Martin’s Newsagent in my hometown and it was on a table of reduced books at the centre of the room.
There was a big sticker on the front advertising it for sale at something like 50p. Clearly it wasn’t deemed a prospective Christmas present for anyone, but it spoke to me. I saw it, grabbed it up and flicked through it and I asked my mother if I could please, please, please have it and - probably because she knew it would shut me up - I got an early Christmas present.
As a child I treasured this book. (Undoubtedly more than any of the Christmas presents I received the next day.) I would read it and study it again and again and again. This is a book crammed full of fantastic illustrations. The werewolves contained in the pages have haunted and thrilled my dreams ever since; my interest in Jack the Ripper surely comes from the pages covering the case in this book; while if I was asked to think of images to sum up Dracula; Frankenstein; The Island of Doctor Moreau, my mind would leap instantly to the pictures which accompanied the summaries within these pages.
It would be fair to say that the horror writer – indeed, the man – I am today owes a phenomenal amount to this book.
I think you can probably tell by now that I wasn’t an average seven year old, but this book sent me even further into my dark interests. It was a glimpse into a more adult world which I wasn’t really part of yet, but so, so wanted to be. As time went by the book started to fall apart; pages tumbled out and the spine broke. But it still never lost its power over me.
Then one day I found a new copy on eBay and instantly handed my money over. Once again I could tour through these pages – taking in the classics of horror fiction, as well as dark myths and serial killers. I could stare once more at the pictures, and marvel at the seven year old who used to devour the tales of terror within. It was like welcoming back my oldest friend.
F.R. Jameson was born in Wales, but now lives in London with his wife and young daughter. His work includes the Ghostly Shadows Anthology series: tales of horror and madness which each standalone, but are also strangely connected. There are currently five novellas and one novel in the series, with more coming in 2021. You can find him on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram @frjameson.
Ghostly Shadows links:
Amazon author page:
From Book 1: Nothing was going to ruin Castle’s holiday, except the mocking laughter of the dead…
Larry Castle was going to enjoy his escape to the seaside. Basking in the sunshine, flaunting his mistress, strutting like a big man around town. However, a strange chance encounter leaves his confidence reeling. Castle hears a pointed phrase from his own past, a loaded sentence which only he and a long dead man should know. Words which could mean the crashing down of Castle’s comfortable life.
There’s the dreadful possibility that someone knows his darkest secret. A long ago crime, a brutal murder. The thing that made him, but which could equally break him. No matter what, Castle is going to have to deal with this problem. And he’s prepared to go to any length to do it.
This weekend Castle is going to confront the spectres of his past, but some are more far real than others!
Death at the Seaside is a gripping new supernatural thriller, with an unforgettable antihero. A horror to chill on even the most uncomfortably hot day!
The first STANDALONE instalment of F.R. Jameson’s Ghostly Shadows Anthology series.
Praise for Death at the Seaside:
“Do yourself a favour and read this book, you won’t be disappointed.”
“The way Jameson writes is nothing short of amazing. I could easily read anything written by him.”
“This one’s kind of creepy. It was advertised as horror/suspense, and it certainly qualifies as a psychological thriller that might play well in a venue similar to The Twilight Zone.”
Beneath the Leaves was a charity anthology from 2020, created as a birthday gift to Em Dehaney, the Burdizzo Babe. The theme was autumn, her favourite time of year, and the brief was pretty broad. All proceeds would go to the charity of Em's choosing, and I'll tell you about that shortly.
The story I wrote was called 'From Tappet Woods' and I was thrilled it was accepted. It's a story I'm proud of.
Here's a synopsis:
Our narrator is an older man, recalling a disturbing chain of events from his childhood that have left him... reticent, shall we say, to enter the woodlands, particularly during the autumnal months.
A child has gone missing. Strange sounds are heard outside. There are rumours of an escaped prisoner, but who can say what is real and what's mere childish fancy? An impulsive hunt is begun, taking our lad into the dark and toothsome woods where horror and madness await.
'It was an extensive stretch for the area, a forest of fairy-tale proportions to our imaginations. But they were not savoury, those woods, and no family named 'Tappet' ever claimed them— so far as I've been able to discover. Some things do remain buried, I suppose.'
From Tappet Woods is my attempt at evoking M.R. James' classical, understated horror vibe in a more pastoral setting. The narrative voice I had in mind was that of the actor, *Robert Lloyd Parry, who does such an excellent job in performing James' stories on stage.
Today (Saturday, 20th Feb), I am releasing my performance of From Tappet Woods, in what I hope is something approximating Robert's manner.
This recording will be permanently available for anybody to access for free, though I very much hope that anybody who chooses to listen would consider making some small donation to NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood), the charity to which the anthology was dedicated. I hope you enjoy it.
There'll be a donation link on the page itself but, for those of you wanting to find out more, here are the details of how NAPAC helps people.
Should anyone want to get hold of Beneath The Leaves itself, you can do so from Amazon.
Aaaand that's about it. If you want to chat about the story, about editing, or anything else, you can hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linked In. My website is www.thefinetoothed.com and I absolutely, positively will not bite unless you ask me to.
*You can see some of Robert's work on his YouTube channel, and his MR James shows are also available to buy on dvd. Highly recommended. Utterly mesmerising.