I’ve been Massacred

The first issue of new horror publication MASSACRE MAGAZINE is out, and I’m not only in it but IN it.

Human hand with blood

Open the pages of this first issue of Massacre Magazine and release a plague of darkness. Nearly thirty thousand carefully crafted words from some of today’s most promising horror writers. Bestselling author Rupert Smith talks about his first horror novel, GRIM, and the importance of community in tales of the mysterious and macabre. Matt Harrah asks Burning Questions in his flash fiction winner, and Jake Sheridan reveals what glides down mountains full of sin in his distinctive, The Voice. Marc E Fitch rolls up his sleeves for a bit of Savage Work. Talking of savage work, we have two very different twists on The Ripper theme in Paul Holbrook’s short story, Chain Me Not in Heaven, and a poem from Anthony Crowley. Jake Swan provides a warning to the desperate in There Are Worse Things Than Loneliness. Steve Emmett – that’s me 😉 – takes us to the German countryside in Head of the House, a simmering and atmospheric tale of sweet revenge. Sailing holidays will never be the same once you’ve visited Julia Kavan’s Safe Harbour, where reality and nightmare lap at the shore. Winter wouldn’t be complete without a Christmas story, but in Demon Darkling author Dana Wright provides more red than Santa’s suit. Our non-fiction contribution comes from Tracy Kuhn who takes exception to the theory that Horror is for Boys.

Massacre Publishing is something Julia Kavan and I came up with a little while ago, and if you’d like to know more about that pop over to Catherine Cavendish‘s blog where we are spilling a few fava beans and washing them down with something rather nice. Julia is our Catcher of Souls and I’m the Curator of Concepts. We also have a Keeper of the Keys who stays out of the limelight. We run flash fiction competitions and are always looking for adult horror that pushes the boundaries. You can find all the information on the website and sign up for the free newsletter: http://massacrepublishing.com/

Massacre Magazine is available for Kindle now from Amazon and will soon be in a print version and available from other retailers. Follow the website and get the newsletter to keep up to date.

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We really hope you enjoy Massacre Magazine – there are some great writers in it.

faded blood head

Contains gore, a butchered dog, rape, and murder

So says Diana Lord at the Monster Librarian of my horror novel Diavolino. She liked it!

“This book started slowly, in building up the characters and setting the mood, but once it got going, it was relentless, non-stop action.  There were plot twist and turns that kept this reader guessing who was on what side – good or evil – and which side would win in the end.  Recommended for adult readers”

Check out the full review here:


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Available in paperback and eBook

Book Review: GRIM by Rupert Smith

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Click to Purchase
Special launch price just £1.02!

Grim by Rupert Smith

Publisher: CB Creative

ISBN: 978-1-78292-469-2 

Publication date: 31 October 2013

Genre: Horror

American archaeologist John Russell and his son arrive in a small British coastal town. Russell plans to investigate the death of the woman who meant most to them – his British wife, Isaac’s mother. At first, the town of Besselham seems eccentric and old-fashioned but, as John and Isaac dig deeper, they discover a gruesome secret. Behind the net curtains of a neat seaside house, behind the chintz-covered sofa, there lies a headless body. Blood covers the ceramic figurines and framed photos, soaks into the doilies and cushion covers. The good people of Besselham, the holidaymakers, shopkeepers and schoolchildren, have no idea that this is the beginning of a wave of unexplained deaths that will strike terror into the heart of their prim, conservative community.

As bodies pile up in the panic-stricken town, Russell makes a strange and sinister discovery on the beach at low tide. Is it just an ancient monument, or evidence of a blood cult rising from the distant past to engulf Besselham?

GRIM is Rupert Smith’s first venture into horror (he has written ten novels in all, plus a number of successful TV tie-ins). Dr Smith says that his inspiration for Grim was low-budget Hammer-style horror, and Stephen King’s big social canvases. Having visited the Norfolk coast over many years he felt he had to write about it, and the only way to evoke its weirdness was through horror.

Grim is not, therefore, a runaway slasher thriller, despite the copious amounts of blood and the sometimes brilliant depictions Dr Smith provides, but instead is a slow, brooding tale of terror that insinuates its cold fingers into the reader’s nerves little by little. One of its endearing qualities is that Dr Smith has populated Besselham with lots of weird characters, each one equal to the infamous Stephen King creation, Annie Wilkes.

“The room was dark and overheated and smelt even worse than the hallway, as if hundreds of thousands of cigarettes had been smoked in here, the ashtrays never emptied, and something had died behind one of the radiators.

A three-piece suite upholstered in faded brown velvet, far too big for the room, defined a small triangular space of dirty green carpet on to which Isaac stepped…Mr Muir lowered himself on to the sofa, taking up most of the space. Isaac tried to avoid looking at his gaping pyjamas…Mrs Muir rattled into the room with a tea tray. The cups were chipped, the teapot, once white, almost uniformly brown. Some biscuits sat on a plate that may once have doubled as an ashtray; they looked elderly.”

This all too familiar picture of Britain’s run down seaside towns will bring a smile to many readers’ lips, at the same time as making them shudder:

“He (Isaac) leaned against the sea wall, looking inland. The street was dirty, the surface sticky with whatever was running down from the gutters and into the sea – spilt beer from last night, perhaps, or urine, canine or human. It had not rained for a while, and in places the concrete was shiny with spilt liquid.

There was something between his feet, some piece of litter that seemed to be stuck to the ground. Isaac leaned forward for a closer look. A used condom, like the shed skin of some fat snake, lay where it had fallen. Here, against this very wall, under cover of darkness, or perhaps in the first light of dawn, a couple had been together. He felt a shudder of revulsion, and moved away, certain that the soles of his trainers were sticking to the tacky residue on the pavement. Half way down the stairs that led to the beach – filthy stairs, the edges cracked and broken, metal banisters rusted away by salt air – there lay the torn, discarded remains of a porno mag, tossed over the wall by a guilty reader, the pages now thick with sea water, the ink faded, but the images still clear, huge women pressing their breasts together with their upper arms while their hands foraged around below.”

Grim is a tale of the supernatural and macabre, set amidst the caravan parks and amusement arcades of a typical English coastal resort, in which Russell must risk everything to save his disturbed, lonely son Isaac before insatiable powers of evil claim and consume him. A damned good read it is, though it may not go down well with the Norfolk Tourist Board.

Rupert Smith (Photo: James M Barrett) Click to Visit Dr Smith's Website

Rupert Smith
(Photo: James M Barrett)
Click to Visit Dr Smith’s Website

This review was written for the New York Journal of Books and is reproduced here with their kind permission


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?

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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 juliakavan@gmail.com, 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!