The Book Awards 2013 Winner!

Nobody is more surprised than me but I am the winner of the 2013 Book Awards for book reviews at the New York Journal of Books.

2013Reviews-1 (2)

The Book Awards have been run by ‘not for profit’ publisher Acclaimed Books Limited since 2008 and, in that time, tens of thousands of voters from over one hundred countries around the world have shown their appreciation by supporting and nominating books in the competition.

“We have run the awards for over five years but last year was the first time we featured the, often unsung, stalwarts of the literary industry, our supporting professionals. Without the help of these talented individuals and organisations, many of our much-loved stories would never have seen the light of day.  Steve has received particularly warm support. It really is quite an accomplishment for a ‘behind the scenes’ professional to inspire so many to get online and vote in such numbers, and Steve is a very worthy winner!” The Book Awards Managing Director, Peter Lihou

The Book Awards are the only international awards that are open to all professionals offering services to authors and titles distributed in Kindle or printed formats by sites around the world. Anyone can nominate or vote for a professional without charge or registration. Dubbed The People’s Book Awards, this openness attracts large numbers of visitors to the awards site

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2013, welcome 2014

It’s customary to celebrate the arrival of a new year with Strauss’s Blue Danube waltz, so here it is – but with space images, ‘cos when we’ve fucked this planet over once and for all we’ll be relying on space travel to save our species.

I found this video on Youtube and this is what it says:

Using the power of the free high-resolution space simulation program, Celestia, visit the world of “2001, a Space Odyssey”. Follow a meticulously choreographed dance of spacecraft from the movie, to the music of the Blue Danube. Experience the beauty of space from gifted Celestia designer Jean-Marie Le Cosperec. You can interact with all of these spacecraft in Celestia, fly next to them, visit the space station and moon base, and examine the ships up close. Visit to obtain Celestia. This 2001 add-on is available for free. Details and links to the add-on are on that site in the links section, and on Jean-Marie’s website at

Have a good one!

One Lovely Blog Award

Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean it isn’t lovely!

Lovely Blog Award The highly energetic Ally Shields is to thank for my prestigious award. Thanks, Ally! Please make sure you nip over to her website:

Along with this award, I’ve accepted three conditions. The first is link back to Ally – no problem there – and the second is to reveal seven things about myself. What, another seven? I seem to be doing this rather often these days. Okay, here we go…


I’m an obsessive checker. Before I leave the house I check all the appliances are turned off, windows and doors locked. Then I go round and check again. And again. Sometimes, after locking myself out, I let myself back in again to check one more time. Sometimes, I get as far as the car then go back for just a last check. Very occasionally I will drive away then just pop back to make absolutely sure.


Bookstore Dalek

Bookstore Dalek (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think you all know about my Dalek suit, but my other treasure when I was a child was a shiny, black, plastic Beatles wig. I should have looked after it better actually as it would come in handy now.




Whilst I can’t say the film is among my favourites, CHUCKY will always be a part of me. Some of you know my nickname is Chukkie (usually mispelled as Chucky). It’s a term of endearment that my son lavished on me when he first learned to speak, and it’s stuck. According to my mood I can be Cheerful Chukkie, Cheeky Chukkie or Silly Chukkie. Not very PC, I know, but one Chinese New Year as I donned appropriate costume I was called Chinkee Chukkee.


One thing I cannot be is Churchie Chukkie! I am a Humanist and am currently training to be a funeral celebrant. I love it, to be honest. If you want to know more about the subject, here’s a link to the British Humanist Assocation.



I hate both broccoli and cauliflower. They make me heave.



The film Mary Poppins is about the only movie guaranteed to make me cry. I know, pathetic, isn’t it? And me a horror writer.

Mary Poppins (film)

Mary Poppins (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I once went round a revolving door the wrong way at the Waldorf Hotel in London’s Aldwych.

Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych

Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wondered why the bloody thing was so stiff, but only realised what I’d done as I fell into the foyer and heard some guy mutter, “What a twat.” Well, ’tis why my other nickname is Clouseau.


Now for the last condition, I’m passing the award to these worthy and distinguished authors/supporters:

Rupert Smith

Julia Kavan

Elin Gregory

Alexandra Weston

Susan Roebuck

Catherine Cavendish

Jan Marshall

They’re not all horror, but I recommend checking them out!

Thanks for dropping in.


A Stairway to He…?

It’s the horror writer’s favourite time of year. Halloween lurks just around the corner, and we invite you to leap out of the shadows and scare us witless. I’ve joined evil forces with horror writer Julia Kavan (author of Dreaming, Not Sleeping ) to give you the chance to make our Halloween.

We’re running a short story contest during October in the hope of finding some fabulously frightening fiction. Of course, we may be evil but we’re not totally wicked – this isn’t just for our own dark amusement! Whoever manages to come up with a tale that makes us quake and queasy will win a £20/$30 Amazon gift card.

Study the image below. Peer into the shadows, look up into the darkness and down into the light. What tales lurk there, waiting to be told?

bigstock-Ancient-Staircase-47667682 (2)

Stories can be as short as you like and up to 3000 words in length. Please format your work with double line spacing and attach it to an email as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file. Entries must arrive before midnight (GMT) on October 31st 2013. Send your entries to, with HALLOWEEN CONTEST in the subject line. The winning story will be announced on 1st November* and published on both our websites if the winner permits.

*Subject to volume of submissions!

Suicide Prevention Week – Authors Care


I am indebted to author Louisa Bacio for starting up this initiative. Please visit her blog where you can read her own contribution, have a chance to win prizes and find a complete list of participants. Louisa is here:

Detail of The Death of Socrates. A disciple is...

Detail of The Death of Socrates. A disciple is handing Socrates a goblet of hemlock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suicide is something people don’t like to talk about. Not so long ago it was illegal to attempt to take your own life (go figure!). It was always seen as something to be ashamed of, and if a family member tried it the whole family would be stigmatised – whether the attempt was successful or not.

As a child I remember being told that a relative had hanged himself. It happened either before I was born or when I was too young to remember anything about it, but I was told as if it explained why ‘we’ didn’t bother with a certain branch of the family. My parents were always quick to put people down (no pun intended).

I never attempted suicide and don’t anticipate doing so now, but I thought about it often enough. I won’t bore you with my coming out story again, but as a teenager I had not a clue I was gay. In my environment gays were to be despised for the aberrations they were. I didn’t know any gays, though later I was surprised to find out which of my teachers were gay and that included some of the married ones.

This meant that my formative years were a trial. I never felt as if I belonged. I wanted so much to feel part of the world around me but I just didn’t. And that’s how the thoughts of ending it all started. The pressure to conform was enormous.

I’m a survivor. A fighter. I believe in Man’s ability to live a good and meaningful life without having to do as he is told. Tolerance is the key. We must appreciate our commonalities and be sensitive to our differences. I know that things have changed but I also know that some young people still feel pressured to hide their sexuality and other differences. People commit suicide for many reasons, of course, and if you visit the other bloggers you’ll find many contributions to the discussion. Thanks for listening to mine.

If you’d like to win a signed copy of Diavolino, leave a comment here. I’ll pick a winner when the blog hop closes – last day is September 14th, my birthday 😉