Sunday, 17 October 2010

Falling Star and Half Price Halloween

Falling Star has been out now for nearly three months, and in that time it has received some good honest reviews:

I am pleased with the reception it has had, especially with the strong dark themes that are in the story such as self-harm and domestic abuse. I surprised myself as I was writing the novel how dark the plot was becoming, but Star’s story needed to be told. Some characters can just grab you as an author, and Star really did that to me more than any other character I’ve created. I’m also glad she has grabbed some of my readers in the same way too.

So, with Halloween just around the corner, I’ve decided to do something special and start celebrating it two weeks early, with an event I’m calling, Half Price Halloween. Between now and 11.59pm on the 31st October, Falling Star will be available from for £4.00 instead of the usual £7.99.

I hope that this will give more people a chance to immerse themselves in Katie and Star’s friendship, and the story that unfolds around them.

I’ve got a few new things coming up, and as soon as everything is in place, I’ll let you all know.

Until then, have a great Halloween.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Releasing Books into the Big Wide World.

After months of work writing, editing and re-writing, finally Falling Star has been sent into the big wide world on the hunt for her audience.  This has been a differnet kind of venture than my previous novels, and one that has set me on the road to the future. 

I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again here, but I write books because I don't think I feel happy doing anything else.  For me, the act of creating a world, inhabiting it with characters, and setting them on their way throughout the story is what I've wanted to do since I was a child.

Do I want fame and fortune?  It would be nice I suppose, but it is not the reason I want to write books.  Especially as the chances of getting one of those things, let alone both, are remote to say the least.  I would really prefer people to read my books and hopefully enjoy them.

Starting my own publishing imprint, Dark Crucible Publishing, has helped me learn more about the process, and given me the chance to maybe help other writers get their work out there.  Maybe authors will come, maybe they won't, but as I've found out, there are no promises in the publishing world, we all just roll the dice and take our chances, from the moment we send off our synopsis and first few chapters to an agent or publisher, or we decide to go it alone and self-publish.  As long as we have fun doing it, that should be all that matters.

Now I'm looking to what I'm going to do next, and so far my plans are to work on the revised 2nd edition of Killing Time, and the next book in the Ramton Gallow Mysteries Series.  I don't know what the future truly holds, but I'm going to have fun finding out.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Conversation with... Gary William Murning - Part 3

GWM: Yes -- I think structure is, on the whole, extremely important. I'm a morning writer. I usually start about 9 AM, fresh out of the bathroom and mind still uncluttered by the day ahead. I like to write 1000 words every day, five days a week -- and the thousand words usually take me about an hour. Once that's done, I move on to related stuff; editing, promotional work, correspondence etc. After lunch I generally take a couple of hours "off" for reading and then continue with the non-writing writing stuff that every writer seems to spend most of his/her time doing -- networking, researching, schmoozing and so on and so forth!

Speaking of which, I recently wrote an article for The View from Here magazine (you can read it here if you wish) in which I discussed online promotion etc. I was wondering, you also use Twitter and other social media/networking tools. How successful have you found them?


I’ve found that social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are invaluable for a writer, both new and established, in order to not only advertise their writing, but also get in contact with other writers, reviewers and fans. Writing is mostly a solitary process, and being able to chat with other writers and share tips and encouragement makes you feel more part of a community, just as you said in the article.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Falling Star - Book Trailer.

With less than 4 weeks left until the release of Falling Star, as I have doen with my other novel releases since last year, under my publishing imprint, Dark Crucible Publishing, I have posted the trailer on YouTube, and you can watch it below:

Monday, 7 June 2010

A Conversation with... Gary William Murning - Part 2

CJW: Also in horror, characters need to be believable, even more so than in other genres of fiction. Believable characters make unrealistic situations genuine to the reader.

I’ve been re-reading your interview in Writing Magazine (February 2010 issue), about how your disability effects your writing day. Also being a writer with a disability (I have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, which causes intense pain in all my joints, making walking without assistance, and gripping things, almost impossible), I have found that the use of a computer is essential to creating my fiction. Due to my condition, writing has become the main driving force in my life, and it is something that defines me instead of being seen as a ‘disabled person’. I was wondering how you saw your writing in relation to your disability.

GWM: It's funny, but for quite awhile I worked really hard at trying to avoid being defined as "a disabled writer". There was, in some quarters, an assumption that a bloke in a wheelchair should write about blokes in wheelchairs -- and that really galled me, naturally. So I quite deliberately avoided the obvious, at least for three or four novels, and tried to create characters physically very different from me, and do it convincingly. The point being that, beyond our various differences, we are all inherently very similar. For me that was a point I really wanted to communicate, however indirectly.

But the older I get, the more clear it becomes that my disability -- or perhaps, more accurately, the way it's shaped my life -- definitely colours my fiction. Even without taking into account my next novel (which is, unusually for me, heavily autobiographical, in places), I think it's provided me with an ability to see things from a slightly different angle. I still resist being labelled, but now I understand my disability's value. Granted, I usually find myself writing from the point of view of someone without an obvious physical disability -- but you can bet your bottom dollar that he/she will have some kind of "disability", so long as you define the term as broadly as possible!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Letter

The publication of Falling Star is almost upon us, and with that, I wanted to give you a little more information on the main antagonist of the novel, the Dark Man.  I first created the Dark Man for my 2004 horror novel, Killing Time - which will be released in a revised 2nd edition version later in the year - and though he was intended to be just for that one story, like his victims, he never really left me, and the truth about who and what he is has grown from there, and when the  idea for Falling Star came along, I knew that it would be the right story to re-introduce the Dark Man.

As I was working on Falling Star, I wrote a small fiction piece, which was published in Protodimension Magazine (Issue #3), entitled The Letter, which gives a little more of an insight into the nature of the Dark Man.

You can download a copy of the magazine which also contains an interview with me from the Protodimension Magazine website:

The Letter

To whomever is reading this I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry.

I wish that these words, the last ones you’ll ever read, would be words of comfort, but alas, I’m afraid to say, they won’t be. You have come too far to be comforted, and you can’t ever go back, not now. All I can do is prepare you for what you are about to face, what will be from this moment on. Be brave, don’t let him, the Dark Man, have the satisfaction of your terror, look him square in the eyes, if what he has can really be called eyes, and show him you are not afraid.

He has been watching you your whole life, him or others like him; they have been watching all of us. They have walked the earth for as long as there has been an earth, since the dawn of creation they have been bound to this home of ours, and we have been their sustenance.

You probably hadn’t realized they were there; most people are unaware of their existence and that, I am sure, is how they like it. It is only the few, those chosen few, who know that they are here, can see them for what they are, and have fought them for the delicate souls of us who are unfortunate enough to be noticed as we cross their path.

I am sure there have been times in your life that you have felt the air around you suddenly get cold, sensed the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, or a chill through your body for no real reason, making you shudder. You’ve probably followed these feelings by saying ‘someone’s just walked over my grave’; the truth is far more frightening than that. It was him, the Dark Man feeding off your soul. At those times he was only taking the smallest of bites, an appetizer, wondering if at that time you were ready for him to swallow you whole. Now is that time.

You can feel him at this moment, can’t you? Just over your shoulder, beyond your peripheral vision, but there. Don’t turn around. I know you want to, probably more than you’ve ever wanted to in your whole life, but don’t. Resist his pull as long as you can.

The smell is about to come. Rank, nauseating; the stench of flesh that has putrefied, filling your nostrils as the Dark Man starts to encompass you. Hold on to all those thoughts, those feelings that have been your substance.

Remember who you are. Remember the life you have had. Remember those who you have loved. Remember those who you have lost. Remember the times you have laughed. Remember the times you have cried.

It’s not long now, and before these words blur while your senses diminish, as the Dark Man takes control of you, I just want to say again, my friend, I am sorry.

L. Ostforeva

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Falling Star: Blurb

Fifteen year old Katie Jenkins has what her grandmother called a “gift” – an ability to see things that others can’t. Her grandmother taught her to harness her ability using Tarot cards, but after the old lady’s death, Katie begins to realise there is more to it than just predicting the future.

She meets a strange girl called Star, who has runaway to escape from an abusive home life, and is being followed at night by an evil shadowy figure called the Dark Man. He wants Star’s soul, and Katie knows she must not let that happen, whatever the cost.

Not fully understanding how, Katie must protect the physically and emotionally scarred Star from the Dark Man, and also help to bring out into the open the real reason Star left her home, before it is too late.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A Conversation With... Gary William Murning - Part 1

This will be the first part in a series from a conversation with novelist, Gary William Murning, about our inspirations, desires and experiences in the literary world from our own unique perspectives.

Gary is the author of If I Never, published by Legend Press.  He is currently working in his second novel.

You can find out more about Gary at his website HERE

And purchase a copy of If I Never from HERE

Gary William Murning: It always strikes me as somewhat strange that horror fiction is, in some circles, so poorly thought of. Some of the finest writers I've encountered have, at one time or another, written something of a macabre nature -- Edgar Allan Poe, of course, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson and so many more. And, even though I don't write horror these days, I'm quite certain I wouldn't be the writer I am today had it not been for the influences of, for example, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Clive Barker et al in my teens and early twenties. In fact, I might never have tried my hand at writing. It was these guys who taught me how to write, and whilst I may have learned one or two bad habits from them, I learned many more that have stood me in pretty good stead. I think King in particular wrote some incredible fiction, in his early years, especially -- and his approach to character taught me everything I needed to know about creating real people who jump off the page. Horror fiction has a very special capacity to really stick in the mind and evoke strong feelings; far more effective at engaging with the adolescent mind than good old Tom and Huck!

CJ Wright: I agree; the snobbery of some literary critics against the horror genre does overlook the complexity and skill it takes to create good horror fiction. There is a thought in some people’s minds when they hear the word ‘horror’ that conjures up blood, guts, gore and violence; that is not what horror, true horror, is. Horror is about fear, and the way to create fear is to take the mundane and ordinary, and twist it ever so slightly, so that it takes people out of their comfort zone. In a none-visual medium, such as the written word, it takes skill to get it right.

GWM: That reminds me of something I remember reading Peter Straub say. I can't recall the exact quotation, but he basically mentioned the scene in one of his novels (Floating Dragon, I think) where a Coca-Cola can goes rolling by in the breeze. He said that, for him, that was how you made horror fiction work -- by nailing it to real life in as many ways as possible. And, you know, I think that's true about all fiction. You need to learn how to work in "the everyday". Those little things that we all experience time and again and never really notice. I think that's something I learned from King very early on. Those moments when a character does something and you think, "Wow, I thought I was the only person who did that!" Horror writers need to handle that better than anyone -- and, indirectly, I think they probably teach it better than anyone.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Falling Star Cover

Here's the cover for my upcoming Young Adult horror novel, Falling Star, along with the announcment that the publication date is 19th July 2010.  I am really happy with the way the story has gone, from it's initial idea to the completed novel, and hope it can live up to the expectations I have for it.

Falling Star - Chapter One Preview.

With the second draft of Falling Star done, and with publication ever creeping upon me, I'm posting a preview of the first chapter for people to read, and hopefully get a flavour of what is to come. Enjoy.

Chapter One

The mirror was lying to her; it was always lying to her.

Katie Jenkins had woken up at her usual 7am, even though it was the second week of the school summer holidays, sat up in bed and stared straight into the liar opposite her hanging on the wall.

It was a liar because what she saw in it was not Katie. At least not the Katie she thought she was. This faux Katie looking back at her was pretty, even with morning hair, her eyes seemed bright, and the wry smile on her lips added to her beauty. She looked like a girl who could make boys drool and fall all over her with nothing more than a split-second glance in their direction. The real Katie, as she believed herself to be, was at her best awkward looking, with stringy red hair, skin that was far too pale, and couldn’t even get a boy to give her the time of day. Katie had as of yet not found anyone who agreed with her description of herself, but she was right and they were wrong, and nothing they said could sway her opinion.

With about an hour until her mother clocked off from her nightshift at the nearby warehouse, earning just over £8 an hour picking stock orders for a nationwide supermarket chain, Katie slumped out of bed, slid her bare feet into her pink fluffy bunny slippers, and went for a shower so she could begin to kill another boring day until her final year of high school started in the beginning of September.

Once she was dressed, Katie walked around her quiet home, trying to build up the courage to enter the one room of the house she had not been in for just over a month – her late grandmother’s bedroom.

It had just been the three of them living in the house all together for the past two years, Katie, her mother and her grandmother; and Katie had loved it. When her mother worked, Katie and her grandmother would talk until midnight on school days and until the early hours of the morning on weekends. They talked about anything and everything, though their favourite subject was Tarot cards.

‘I have read the cards of Royalty and commoners, alike,’ Katie’s grandmother would tell her. ‘It is a gift that not all possess.’

Katie’s grandmother would take out the set of Tarot cards she kept in the decorative locked box that lived in the top draw of the cabinet, which she had brought with her when she moved in with her daughter and granddaughter. It was a beautiful antique, well loved, but also well used, with old papers filed in every draw, along with envelopes, parcel tape, a river of paperclips and a rubber band ball the size of an orange. The cabinet held glass-fronted display shelves where porcelain figurines stood for all to see, and behind two small wooden doors hid a couple of liquor bottles and a collection of shot glasses away from everyone’s eyes. After opening the box and uncovering the cards from the silk wrapping she kept them in, Katie’s grandmother would then tell the young girl’s fortune.

The two of them kept this activity a secret. Katie knew her mother would never have allowed it. Before her grandmother moved in with them, when Katie’s parents were still together, she heard the occasional phrases pass her mother’s lips that didn’t quite match with the kind, little, grey-haired old woman who would gave her bags full of sweets whenever she came to visit, make funny faces at Katie when her mother wasn’t looking, and telling her really dirty jokes when her mother was out of ear-shot. Now, however, it all made sense, but Katie didn’t care what her mother thought.

Katie didn’t really believe everything her grandmother predicted, though pretended that she did as to not hurt the old woman’s feelings. When things did appear to have come true she told her grandmother at the earliest opportunity, which always brought the phrase from the old woman: ‘See, the cards are never wrong.’

It was just over four months ago, on her fifteenth birthday, that Katie’s grandmother suggested teaching the girl how to read the cards for herself. This was even more fun. Katie picked it up very quickly, and enjoyed reading her own cards and seeing her predictions coming true.

What started to worry Katie in the last couple of months before her grandmother’s death was the frequency of which her predictions turned out to be correct, and how accurate they were. No longer were most of them vague descriptions which could have fitted almost anyone at anytime, these ones were precise and could only be relevant to her. The cards were speaking to Katie, and it scared her.

‘You have a gift,’ her grandmother would reassure her. ‘There is something about you that is special, don’t be afraid of it, grasp it, relish in it.’

It wasn’t long, however, before she could no longer get the chance to try and relish her ‘gift’. Her grandmother was dying, and her descent was sudden and fast. Within three weeks she went from always having a smile on her face, to being drawn and tired. The final three days Katie’s grandmother had to spend in the hospital.

Katie remembered getting the call at school that her grandmother’s time was almost up. She was in the middle of English when Mrs Parker, the deputy head, came into the classroom and asked Katie to accompany her to the school office.

‘Your mother is on her way here,’ Mrs Parker said as they walked the corridors of the school, but Katie wasn’t really listening.

Sitting outside the office, Katie watched the clock opposite tick by slowly. The sounds of the school were muffled to her. The cries of the children as they played outside during break, the ring of the telephone and the chatter of the teachers coming from the staff room felt as if they were travelling through imaginary cotton wool that was stuffed in her ears.

Mrs Parker held her hand the entire time until Katie’s mother arrived, then with a small smile to Katie, left them to it and disappeared down the corridor.

On the drive up to the hospital, Katie thought about what state her grandmother would be in when they arrived. She pictured nurses rushing around, a heart monitors beeping, and numerous tubes either pumping things in or taking things out. The images continued as they got there and began the long walk from the main hospital doors to the Ward where her grandmother was.

As they reached the large double doors for the right Ward, Katie’s mother took hold of her hand.

‘Are you going to be all right?’ she asked.

‘Yeah, mum. I’ll be fine.’

Katie could hear her own words but didn’t believe them.

They walked through the doors and stopped at the nurses’ station. The nurse behind the desk pointed them in the direction of a private room just before the main part of the Ward, which was where Katie’s grandmother had been moved to, just as a doctor walked out, and seeing the pair of them, signalled that he wanted a word.

‘Go and wash your hands,’ said Katie’s mother as the doctor got to them, indicting the basin on the opposite wall with the sign “PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS” over it. ‘I’ll be over after I’ve talked to the doctor.’

Katie nodded and did as she was told.

She looked over at her mother and the doctor, trying to lip read their conversation, but not getting anywhere. Dropping the paper towels she was drying her hands on in the bin next to the sink, Katie walked down the corridor towards the room the nurse had pointed to, and after bracing herself for the worst, looking inside at her grandmother.

It came as a shock to Katie how plain the room was. Instead of beeping machines and tubes everywhere, there was just her grandmother lying in bed, with one tube from a saline drip stand going in, and the smallest of hints of one going out to a small bag barely visible by the side of the bed.

‘Katie?’ her grandmother rasped. She was in a slightly seated position and could see Katie standing in the doorway.

‘I’m here, Gran,’ Katie replied as she walked towards the bed. ‘It’s me.’

Katie smiled but it felt false on her face. Taking the old woman’s hand, the one without the tube going into it, she sat down in the chair next to the bed.


‘What is it, Gran?’

‘I don’t want you to be scared.’

‘I’m not scared, just worried about you.’

Katie wasn’t going to say the last part but it came out before she could stop herself.

‘There’s no need to worry, I know I’m going to a better place.’

‘Yeah, you’ll be well again in a few days and then you’ll be back at home with me and mum.’

‘No dear,’ said Katie’s grandmother, shaking her head slightly. ‘I won’t be making it home, the doctors have already told me that, and I’m ready for it. I just need to tell you something before I go.’

‘What do you want to tell me?’

‘Everything I have has been split between you and your mother; it’s all in my Will, there’s a copy of it in the top draw of my cabinet. There is, however, one thing I left out of my will: the Tarot cards. Those are for you, and I am giving them to you now, face to face. The key to the box is in the jewellery box on top of my bedside table. You are so special, Katie. So special and you don’t even know it.’

She gave Katie a weak smile before slowly closing her eyes.

Katie heard her mother and the doctor approach the room, so she lightly kissed her grandmother’s hand and stood up next to the bed as they entered. She could see her mother’s eyes were red, a sign that she was about to cry.

‘I’ll leave you two alone for a few moments,’ said the doctor as the mother and daughter embraced.

‘I’m so sorry, Katie,’ her mother said as the tears began to fall. ‘I know you two were close, closer than me and her ever were. I wish you had had a chance to say goodbye to her properly, but the doctor said she passed away about five minutes before we got here.’

Katie’s breath caught in her chest. For a second she didn’t think she had heard her mother correctly. She knew the past few minutes she had spent in this room with her grandmother, having a conversation, were real, but from what her mother was telling her they couldn’t have been.

Feeling her legs start to tremble underneath her, Katie’s mother slumped down in the chair behind Katie. Her grief had overtook her, and Katie could do nothing but put her arm around her mother’s shoulder and look down at the still body of her grandmother.

I’m not going to cry, she thought. I’m not going to cry, I need to be strong, for mum.

Katie didn’t cry then, nor on the way home, but that night, alone in her bed, her tears failed to stop until the sun came up.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Falling Star & Dark Crucible Publishing

After spending the last few months working on getting everything ready, submissions are now able to be taken for Young Adult horror novels and short story collections by my publishing company, Dark Crucible Publishing. The main website is up and running, and will be joined by other online media pages as things develop and publications start to come from Dark Crucible.  I feel that the genre of Young Adult Horror doesn't get the attention it deserves, and I hope that Dark Crucible will re-address the balance.

Dark Crucible Publishing will be producing our author's work in both paperback and eBook formats.

The first novel scheduled to be published is my own, Falling Star. The first draft is near completion, and if all things go according to plan, it will be out sometime during the summer.

All this is going to be a challenge, but one I’m looking forward to.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

My Birthday Giveaway!!!

As tomorrow (February 21st) is my 33rd birthday, I’ve decided to do a special giveaway to celebrate on Twitter. I will post a Tweet at 9am promoting each one of my books, Ritual of Blood, and, The Witch of Primrose Hill, to be Re-Tweeted (RT) by anybody who feels so obliged.

The Tweets will start with the words: Birthday Giveaway

Everyone who RT's either one of these Tweets (or both) will receive a free PDF copy of both books via email.

This RT giveaway will be from 9am-9pm GMT, and to get your free copies of my books, after you have re-tweeted, you will also need to Direct Message (DM) me on Twitter with your email address.

Let's all celebrate together :)

Monday, 1 February 2010

News, reviews and interviews.

With January now over, and February firmly upon us, things are moving forward in my writing world. Falling Star is coming along better than I hoped, the first draft is almost complete, and it is shaping up to be a lot darker than I had thought it was going to be. Hopefully if everything goes well, I’m looking for a summer release date for it.

Over the past month I’ve had a great response to my work. Firstly, a glowing review of Ritual of Blood, by Joanne Chase, on her website, ‘Cut to the Chase Reviews’:

Cut to the Chase Reviews

Protodimension Magazine, an online Horror and RPG magazine, have done an interview with me, and also published my short story, ‘The Letter’, within their pages. You can download a copy of the magazine from here:

Protodimension Magazine

Finally, Dark Crucible Publishing is coming along, and should be up and ready to take submissions from March 1st. I’m looking forward to working with some talented horror authors to bring the Young Adult market the quality scares it deserves.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Busy 2010!!!

Well, 2010 has begun and it is looking like it will be a very busy year for me. Now that all the manic Christmas and New Year stuff is out of the way I’ve started work on Dark Crucible Publishing – getting the website ready, working out the submissions process, and discovering as many ways of using the internet to promote the author’s work as possible. I’m hoping to be ready to accept submissions by the beginning of March, though as I’ve already mentioned, Falling Star will be the first book being published by Dark Crucible.

Speaking of Falling Star, I’m a little over half way on the first draft, and hope to have it finished by February. Once that is done, I’m going to go through Killing Time and have the 2nd edition released.

I’ve also started my ‘My Year with King’ project, spending this year reading the novels of Stephen King. I’ve also started a Blog to chart my progress, which you can read at:

My Year With King

All in all, it’s a busy time ahead.


C.J. Wright's books on Goodreads
Ritual of Blood Ritual of Blood
reviews: 2
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.38)

Falling Star Falling Star
reviews: 2
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.33)

Killing Time Killing Time
reviews: 1
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)