Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Ally Shields. Ally is an author at Etopia Press and has a book in my Links section. You can check her out by visiting her blog at

Thanks, Ally, for nominating me!

Blogger Award

The Rules of this award:

Display the award logo on your blog.
Link back to the person who nominated you.
State 7 things about yourself.
Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them.
Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

7 Things About Me:

1. I wear black virtually all the time. People often ask if I am a vampire.

Me At Night Taken From Above

Me At Night Taken From Above

2. I am an animal lover but I can’t stand horses. I say this whilst currently living in an area where horses are bred for export all over the world. I may become agoraphobic. Or start shopping at Tesco again.

Goes well with a nice Chianti

Goes well with a nice Chianti

3. I lived in Italy for ten years. My interest in ancient Rome and Italian grand opera influences my work.


Me at the Arena di Verona

Me at the Arena di Verona


4. I’m a gay dad. My son is 22 years old and my pride and joy.


My Pride and Joy

My Pride and Joy


5. I don’t like staying in one place too long. I’m fairly nomadic by nature. This may stem from moving house a lot when I was a kid and having a seriously bad relationship with my parents.

Bad Father



6. I am a romanticist but I hate romance. I read horror mainly and love a seriously unhappy ending.

Some people don't understand Romanicism

Some people don’t understand Romanticism


7. I drink only coffee, water and wine.


Here are some bloggers I think deserve the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I don’t expect them all to get involved but I think they are all worth checking out. Sorry it’s not 15 but that’s what you get for inviting an anti-social old scrote like me to take part:

Julia Kavan

Geoff Major

Xavier Leret

Gary McMahon

Jo Linsdell

Margaret James (she’s already done it – but look her up anyhow!)

Susan Roebuck

Jaime Shetrone

Jane Lovering

Les Floyd

Peter McGrath

Lisa McCourt Hollar


Review: The Concrete Grove

I’ve read some really disappointing books this year purporting to be horror. At times I’ve felt quite down about it. One book that didn’t disappoint is The Concrete Grove. I read that last year! But it’s so good, I thought I would post my review here from the New York Journal of Books. You can access the original site via this link:

“The Concrete Grove conjures up images that will haunt readers long after the book is put away.”




The Concrete Grove is the first book of the eponymous trilogy from British horror writer Gary McMahon. Set in the northeastern of England, it tackles the very real and current issues facing those who find themselves trapped at the bottom of the pile, either in rundown housing projects or in lives that have turned bad for one reason or another.

Mr. McMahon’s writing is crisp and minimal. As a result, the crime and misery of a crumbling urban landscape are portrayed with an uncomfortable edge. As if this were not enough, a parallel supernatural world is woven deftly into the story.

The reality of The Concrete Grove—underfunded and crumbling estates, drugs, murder, rape, corruption and general urban decay—will be all too familiar to some. Mr. McMahon says that he has based his characters on real people, and they are incredibly engaging—even the villains. It is impossible not to empathize with even the nastiest of thugs.

Such a story of desperation could stand on its own, but author McMahon adds the chill of a darker world that exists alongside the housing project. Some of the creatures are works of genius, and the use of hummingbirds to send shivers down the spine of the reader is the height of originality.

The Concrete Grove conjures up images that will haunt readers long after the book is put away.

McMahon’s writing builds the tension and keeps the reader guessing to the very end, cranking up the terror with the turn of every page. His complex vision of the supernatural world echoes the early works of Clive Barker yet is original to the core.

The Concrete Grove twists and turns through dark alleyways, finally delivering a shocking an unexpected finale. The second book in the trilogy will be eagerly awaited. Mr. McMahon is a welcome and refreshing member of the horror scene.