Meet My Flesh and Blood

Halloween approaches and it seems the vaults already creak and groan under the pressure. So tonight I take great pleasure in introducing you to my son who, at the age of 22, already shows great promise. I’m looking forward to working with him to bring you horror like you’ve never tasted before. All I have to do is persuade him to give up the idea of being a childminder. Anyway, fangs for dropping by. Now I give you – son of Chukkie58…


Son of Chukkie58

Review: The Evil Seed

Click to Purchase

Title: The Evil Seed

Author: Joanne Harris

Published by: Black Swan

ISBN: 978-0552775045


Something inside me remembers…
It’s never easy to face the fact that a man you once loved passionately has found the girl of his dreams, as Alice discovers when Joe introduces her to his new girlfriend Ginny. Jealous, Alice is repelled by Ginny – an ethereal beauty with a sinister group of friends.

Then Alice finds an old diary hidden away in Ginny’s room and reads about Daniel Holmes and his friend Robert and the mysterious woman who bewitched them both – Rosemary Virginia Ashley, buried in Grantchester churchyard half a century ago – buried but far from forgotten.
As the stories intertwine, past and present are merged into one; Alice comes to realize that her instinctive hatred of Joe’s new girlfriend may not just be due to jealousy as she’s plunged into a nightmare world of obsession, revenge, seduction – and blood.


I’ve seen the film of Chocolat and enjoyed it. I’ll put my hand up and say I haven’t read the book. It’s not really my kind of thing for reading, is it? And I’m sure Alan Titchmarsh meant well last Saturday when he told Classic FM readers that Joanne Harris’s latest book, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure (how do I find the sodding accent on here?!), is full of ‘long and evocative descriptions of France and her food’ but he made me doubt whether I was doing the right thing. You see, I was on my way to see Ms Harris at the SOA’s annual Author’s North Summer Social (if authors can actual attend anything remotely social). Long and evocative descriptions are not really my kind of things for reading, are they?

I have to say that I found Joanne’s talk utterly inspiring, so much so that I came home and finished my ‘work in progress’ which had been doing a reasonable impression of an angry boil for the last month. And she delighted me – being something of a cross between the school teacher we all wish we’d had (though she is far too young in my case) and a sort of Victoria Wood. Were that all authors performed in public so well. Anyhow, before I’m likened to Ronnie Corbett again, what has all this got to do with horror? If I hadn’t gone along last Saturday I probably would never have known that Joanne’s first ever novel was a vampire story called The Evil Seed. That made me sit up a bit, and I dare say you too. It had gone out of print but once she became famous, there was a call to re-release it. And I’m glad about that.

If you look at the reviews, The Evil Seed gets a mixed reception. One reviewer calls it ‘turgid’ – the kind of thing I might, in the past, have been known to say about long, evocative descriptions. I can only say that I loved it. This is a first novel, readers, and of course she’s done things she wouldn’t do now, maybe she privately cringes at parts, but it doesn’t alter the fact that she creates a wondrous, dream-like, nightmarish horror. Yes, the prose is a little more flowery than I would normally praise, but in this case it works and adds to the haunting atmosphere. And the end did make me wonder if I’d had bit too much vin rouge, but that can’t be all bad, can it? I hate tidy endings. Can it be compared to anything else? Well, Joanne says that her publishers hoped she was going to be the new Ann Rice. I dare she could have been if she’d used a lot more adjectives and adverbs.

The Evil Seed. As it is: 5 stars from me. If you like a brooding Gothic horror, I think you’ll love it.

Now, you see, I might just be tempted to a little death by Chocolat…or Peaches…

Lucky 7

Author Julia Kavan roped me in – sorry, tagged me – to this and thus it would be more than my life is worth to ignore her. She has been known to unleash demons. The instructions are:

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript

Go to line 7

Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences exactly as they are (no cheating)

Press gang – sorry, tag – 7 other authors to do the same


Well, this is something new to me because I never, ever reveal anything of a work in progress. Here goes. Page 7…


“How much does it cost to exorcise a demon? Tell me, I’m interested.”

Father Ryan’s face went pale, his lips clamped tight together in a line.  “Well,” he said after a pause, “we don’t…um…charge as such. If we succeed and the person is able, we hope they might make a donation.”

I held his gaze and leaned against the centre armrest. “Don’t be coy, Father. What’s the going rate to rid someone of a minor demon? Fifty bucks? A hundred? A thousand?”

He leaned back towards the fuselage, putting what distance he could between us.

(that is 7 lines in the manuscript!)


And the 7 authors I curse are:

Margaret James

Jianne Carlo

Tristram La Roche

Lisa McCourt Hollar

Peter Giglio

Geoff North

Rosie Fiore

And the best of luck

The Vampire Shrink : Book Review

The Vampire Shrink

Author: Lynda Hilburn

Published by: Jo Fletcher Books (25 Aug 2011)

Kindle version ASIN: B005IHBWDE

Hardback: ISBN-13: 978-0857387196


Kismet Knight is a young psychologist with a growing clinical practice, and she’s always looking for something to give her the edge in her chosen career. When her new client turns out to be a Goth teenager who desperately wants to become a vampire, Kismet is inspired to become the vampire shrink, offering her services to people who believe they are undead. Kismet herself, as a scientist, knows it’s hokum, but she’s looking at it in a purely psychoanalytic light, already imagining the papers she’s going to write on this strange subculture. That’s until she meets the leader of a vampire coven, a sexy, mysterious man who claims to be a powerful 800-year-old vampire, and she is pulled into a whirlwind of inexplicable events that start her questioning everything she once believed about the paranormal.


If you’re a Brit, get the Kindle version because it contains British spelling and punctuation, making it an entirely ‘gotten’ free zone. Yay! I hate the word ‘gotten’ so much I can’t tell you. And there’s another thing about The Vampire Shrink; it is so witty that at times the reader can believe the author is a Brit. Oh, boy, the American vampires will be after me now!

Seriously, this is one of the funniest books I’ve read for a long time. The self-deprecating MC, Kismet the psychologist, is brilliant. She gives us a clever sideways look at the uptight materialistic USA of today,  as well as poking fun at her own kind.

“It seemed he’d had a close encounter with a protester – I couldn’t imagine what anyone would protest about at a Star Trek convention..”

And when the vampire presents her with a collection of exquisite gowns: “What is this? Vampire Cinderella?”

“There was blood all over my living room. A trashed office and a living room that smelled like a used sanitary pad.”

There are plenty of vampires, lots of blood letting and some well-written sex scenes. Is it horror? Nope. This isn’t going to have you pulling the duvet up tight around your neck or stringing garlands of garlic across the windows. But I don’t believe that was ever the author’s intention.

I loved it and recommend it. Was there anything to pick at? Well, the final big scene, the ritual, I felt was rather mechanical and lacked the sparkle of the rest of the book, but it’s a small point in an otherwise commendable debut novel. Stars out of 5? Oh, go on: 4.5 and well deserved.