Review of Infernal by Cheryl Low


Infernal opens with a motley group of people sharing a boat and preparing to do some filming. One group will film the sharks, another will investigate nearby wrecks, and the third will land on the nearby island, to investigate its flora and fauna. As in all good stories of this kind, they have been warned about the mythology and scare stories associated with the island, but if that stopped people we wouldn’t have half the good horror stories we have. But they really should have listened. There is evil on the island, and in the waters surrounding it.

What lifts this story above many others of its kind are the characters. These are real people, and, on the whole, people I came to care about very quickly in the book. In particular, the main protagonist of the book, Val, is very believable and likeable, and as she is put through the ringer as the story progresses, I really did care about her. Even the evil in the story has a personality, a character of its own.

The other major factor this book has in its favour is the writing. It is very very nicely written, the characters (already mentioned), the description, the action and the horror are all handled impeccably. There are some truly creepy moments later in the book, and I don’t read many stories that evoke that creepiness these days. Immerse yourself in this book, and prepare to be creeped out and scared.

Infernal is published by Grinning Skull Press (the same people who published The Demon Guardian, so you know they have good taste!). A highly recommended book. Read it.

Buy from Amazon here

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Where to buy

I seem to have been ignoring this blog so, in an attempt to get it going again, I thought I’d list the main places to buy the various versions of my books. These are not, by any means, the only places, as you’ll find at least some of my books on most online book sellers’ sites, but these are the principal ones.

AMAZON

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On Amazon you’ll find my self-published books, those released through other publishers and also anthologies I have a story in. This is where you’ll find the most comprehensive list of my work, most of which is available in both paperback format and kindle ebook.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

And most regional amazon variations.

SMASHWORDS

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All of my self-published works are also available in a variety of ebook formats, including mobi (kindle) and epub, from Smashwords. The variety of formats available is the main appeal of Smashwords. Whatever ebook reader you have, you should find an appropriate format here.

Smashwords

LULU

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I have used Lulu to create hardback versions of my longer self-published work. Because of the price involved, it was never intended as a serious “salepoint” for readers, but rather a kind of vanity project for myself. I wanted hardback versions of my stories for my own bookshelf – it’s that simple and that vain! Nevertheless, they are available for anyone who wants a nice hardback collection.

Because of the way Lulu works with books that contain “adult” language, violence or sex, you may need to provide your date of birth in order to view the books. If you don’t see the book covers, click on any of the blank image boxes to verify your age.

Lulu.com

And that’s it – as I said at the beginning, you will find me scattered about elsewhere (Barnes & Noble for example) but those listed are the places the various versions of the books have been created for.

If you do happen to read any of my books, please consider leaving a review on the appropriate site. They really do help get a book noticed. Thank you for your support, and thank you for reading.

New Music For Old

For the last few months of 2017, and all of 2018 so far, The 1850 Project (the musical collaboration between myself and my son, Jonathan) has been working on two projects side-by-side. Very soon we hope to be releasing the first part of one of those projects, and so now seemed a good time to bring everyone up to speed.

Project 1 – New Songs

We are currently writing and recording songs for a new album, the spiritual follow-up to The Family (although, in chronological terms, it will probably not be the next album released).

The 1850 Project - The Family

The tracks on this album will be new songs (written by myself and/or Jonathan) and some old songs of mine that have become inextricably linked to The 1850 Project over the years through rehearsals or our live set.

Project 2 – Old Songs

Entitled Revived, this will be a multi-volume collection of songs from my back catalogue, reworked and re-recorded by The 1850 Project. I’ve been writing and recording songs since 1975, and for most of those years the recordings have been poor quality, often without the proper instruments, and on cassette tape.  Those songs chosen for re-recording have been selected by myself and Jonathan, trying to look beyond the often awful sound quality to the song buried within. There may have been some changes of arrangements on the way, and an occasional lyric change (because sometimes words you wrote in your late teens and early twenties are just too embarrassing to sing in your late fifties!), but, in the words of Led Zeppelin, the song remains the same.

For a more detailed description of my musical history click here.

We hope to release Revived Volume 1 in the next few months.

As a taster, one of those old songs, TV Lovers, originally written and recorded in 1987, re-recorded in 2018, is available to stream for free on Soundcloud.

Looking back at 2017, hoping for 2018

So, 2016 was the year I had a small number of publication credits but did a lot of writing. 2017 has been the year of being published (see below), but doing next to no new writing. I’m hoping 2018 can be a bit of both. 🙂
Publication credits – 2017
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My story Castle Ruins in Supernatural Tales 34

Emily in the Wall

Emily In The Wall (The Society Of Misfit Stories)

Best of British Science Fiction 2016 cover

My story The Lightship in Best Of British Science Fiction 2016

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My story Signal in Visions VII: Universe

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Eyes Of The Raven (World Castle Publishing, LLC)

The Demon Guardian - eBook

The Demon Guardian (Grinning Skull Press)

 I have one contract signed for 2018 publication so far, my story The Vampire Worms with Grinning Skull Press. Fingers crossed for more to follow.
Happy New Year to both writers and readers.

The year so far

We’re over half way through 2017, so I thought I’d do a small run through of what’s been going on publishing-wise for me so far.

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The year began well with the inclusion of my short story, Castle Ruins, in Supernatural Tales 34 (30 January 2017)

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Then, on 1st March, and after it was held for over a year by a publisher before they finally decided to reject it, I self published the fast moving space opera, The Frihet Rebellion (1 March 2017).

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Staying with self publishing, I released The Risen Dead (13 April 2017), the first in The Givers Of Life series of linked novellas, and my first foray into the world of zombies.

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In June, The Society Of Misfit Stories published my lengthy short story, Emily In The Wall (7 June 2017), as a standalone publication. I knew this would be a difficult story to place, but The Society Of Misfit Stories is the perfect home for it.

Best of British Science Fiction 2016 cover

This month, my short story, The Lightship, is included in the anthology Best of British Science Fiction 2016 (10 July 2017), something of which I am very proud. It’s a fantastic collection of science fiction short stories and I highly recommend it to any sci fi fan.

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Not yet published, although available for pre-order on Amazon, is my novel, Eyes of the Raven (21 August 2017), published by World Castle Publishing. This is a story of murder and witchcraft, and introduces my current favourite character, Detective Chief Inspector Emily Sanders. I think there’s a very good chance you will hear more of Emily Sanders in the future.

Wonder why I’ve used the name “Emily” twice already this year? I think I just like it!

Also accepted for publication, but with no release date yet, are a horror novel, The Demon Guardian, and a science fiction short story, Signal. I’ll let you know more the moment I’m able to.

In terms of published work, it’s been a good year for me so far (we’ll ignore everything else going on in my life and in the world for the moment). But now, with only two short stories out looking for a home, I need to write more… a lot more… got to keep the dream going!

Thank you for reading.

Family collaborations

A quick look through my published works will show you that, although I usually write things on my own, occasionally there have been collaborations with certain family members. I think it’s probably important to point out, for clarity, that these were not face-to-face collaborations, but rather my taking (with their permission) old stories they had written and rewriting/reworking them to a lesser or greater degree.

I enjoyed doing these immensely, partly, I suspect, because the basic stories were already written and I could concentrate on the writing. No hold-ups while I work out the next direction the plot is going to take. So, let’s take a look at these “collaborations” and see who wrote the original stories.

Colin P Davies

Colin is my older brother (the middle of three of us) and is a successful science fiction writer with published work in such august publications as Asimov’s Science Fiction (where he’s almost a regular!) and The Mammoth Book Of Best New SF #18. You can visit his website here – Colin P Davies. I feel his work is of a more serious and literary style than my own (although not devoid of humour). If I had to choose, I’d say he’s a better “writer” than me, but I hope I can match him on the “storytelling”, which I feel is my strong point. Anyway, all my envy aside… 🙂 way back when we were both young, and we were both writing (in long hand), He wrote two stories in particular that stuck with me. Many years later, I asked him if I could take these stories and rewrite them. Thankfully he said yes, and here are the results.

The Lion On Androcles (2013)

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Not only is the original story by Colin, but the cover artwork is too – an old oil painting of his that I came across in my dad’s. I just felt it fitted the story. Here’s the blurb!

Yso Nakema (The Lion), famed and feared Earth agent, is on Androcles, an old colony world now ruled by the alien Kerexz. His mission is unknown, even to himself. He will learn of it as he meets his contacts on his journey. It’s a tried and trusted mission technique, but this time things are going wrong. Unexpected obstacles rise in his way, the enemy seem to be everywhere they shouldn’t be, he fails to make contacts and, worst of all, he finds himself getting involved with the problems of people he meets on the way.

With aliens, space cruisers, desert nomads, pirates and much more, The Lion On Androcles is a must-read Science Fiction Adventure.

The Evil Incantation (2014)

The Evil Incantation

The Evil Incantation

This time the cover is by the amazingly talented artist and photographer, Steve Upham. Here’s the blurb:

Ex-Special Forces soldier Tim Galton and History Professor Alexander Hall are adventurers and paranormal investigators. But they don’t just investigate haunted houses, they search out the darkest, most dangerous of creatures and do battle. Now they’re in Romania, facing a deadly alliance between Satanists and Vampires and heading inexorably towards an encounter with the most evil creature they’ve ever faced, deep in Transylvania.

The two main characters, Tim Galton and Professor Hall (or at least, my version of them) went on to feature in my novel The Village Witch (2015). If you’re interested, you can read more about how the characters in the two stories are linked, or not linked, depending on your point of view with alternate realities, in my blog post How The Village Witch and The Evil Incantation (do not) link.

W A E Davies

William Anthony Elwyn Davies is my dad. I think it’s fair to say that both Colin and myself get our writing obsession from him. Although he was never published, he was writing stories from an early age. The earliest stories I’ve had access to date from 1949, when he would have been 18/19 years old. I have no doubt he was writing before then, but these are the earliest ones that survive – in his rather scrawling handwriting, gathered together in home-made books.

With his permission, I took these early stories (ranging from 1949 to 1955) and reworked them. This was great fun, particularly with the settings that were current to him when writing, but historical to me. I did some research, looked up some of the incidental details that would have meant nothing to my dad at the time, but were fascinating to me, and even added some historical touches myself that fitted the dates of the stories. It was also fun to step out of my usual comfort zone of horror or science fiction, and work on straight detective, adventure and thriller stories. The result was The Noose Is Waiting And Other Stories (2013) – unfortunately this has no page of its own on my site (something I need to rectify) but can be seen in the list of C&N Publications books.

The Noose Is Waiting

The cover is by my son, Jonathan Davies (this was definitely a family affair!).

Here’s the blurb:

Murder, spies, lost cities, blackmail and ghostly monks. All can be found inside these pages. Originally written between 1949 and 1955 by W A E Davies, revised and rewritten in 2013 by his son, Neil Davies. Locations and time period remain unchanged.

The Noose Is Waiting
The Hidden City Of Ffan Su
Dearest Heart
Blackmail For Breakfast
The Night Of Screaming Terror

Five tales of crime, adventure and horror await…

Best of all, my dad is still writing! Although he took a break for a long time, around 2000 he decided to sit down and have a go at writing a novel. The result was the well written and exciting wartime thriller, which, in 2013, he allowed me to publish for him under the C&N Publications banner. The book is called The Ring Of Treachery (2013).

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You can blame me for the cover! Here’s the blurb:

Hanson and Hopkins, Private Investigators, because even during wartime infidelity and divorce are good business. Murder isn’t their usual line, but when one of their clients is killed they feel obliged to investigate. They never expected it to lead them into a world of Nazi sympathizers, spies and Hitler’s plans to invade England!

My dad is now 87 and, currently, not in the best of health. Hopefully he will recover and one of the things he might get back to is his writing. Very recently, before his current illness, he showed me a short science fiction story he had written that, he said, could also be the start of a novel if there was enough mileage in the idea. It was really very good (and I’m not saying that just because he’s my dad). I encouraged him to go with the novel idea. I believe it would make a great novel, and I hope he decides to write it.

Cathy Davies

I couldn’t talk about collaborations with family members without mentioning my wife, Cathy (who you can find on Facebook and on her own blog site. Although she’s not a writer as such (she used to write poetry a long time ago, but so far won’t let me publish any of it!) she is a fountain of ideas and criticism. Many stories have begun with ideas thrown out in our occasional story brainstorming sessions, quite often from her (strange!) dreams. And, although it can be hard to take at times, many stories have benefited from her criticisms. Admittedly, the direction I take the ideas are often not to Cathy’s liking, but the story still sprung from her original thought. If you look through my short story collections, you will find many stories that come from “an idea by Cathy Davies”. And, in particular, the short book The Ant Man (2013).

The Ant Man

Digman Marley works for Antman Exterminators. He used to work at the old chemical factory on the hill, before it went out of business. His life is hard, dull and predictable. But something is happening up at the old factory, and the ants he’s called to exterminate are acting strangely, and, although he doesn’t know it, this week things are going to change forever for Digman Marley.

The Short Story ‘The Ant Man’ is Neil Davies’s tribute to both the Black & White B-Movies he still enjoys watching and the pulp fiction he still enjoys reading. He just hopes he’s done it (and them) justice.

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A short story collection featuring 14 tales of dark imagination.

The Midnight Hour
Argument
Ribbons Of Blood
The Shadow
When The Fires Die
Photographs
The Perfect Marriage
Road Rage
Virgin Flesh
Death By Popcorn
Frozen Food
Away With The Fairies
Bonding
The Extreme Makeover Of Helen Watson

 

Interludes

Interludes (paperback/ebook)

11 more tales of dark imagination and horror, with “holiday interludes” from the seasons of Halloween and Christmas.

The Box
The Pathological Good Samaritan
Holiday Interlude #1 – Halloween: Tradition
The Sarcophagus (with Rhianne Davies)
Holiday Interlude #2 – Christmas: A Christmas Pilgrim
Conversation
The Killing Tree
Holiday Interlude #3 – Halloween: Young At Heart
The Cleansing
Holiday Interlude #4 – Christmas: Two Years To The Day
The Ward On The Hill

Cathy also used to write her own website, the popular Cathy’s Weightloss Diary. Although the site no longer exists, pages from it are being compiled in a series of books, the first of which is available from, once again, our own family publishing concern, C&N Publications.

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Rhianne Davies

Rhianne is my daughter. She only writes occasionally, but it’s good when she does. We collaborated on one story so far, The Sarcophagus, (my only face-to-face collaboration) which you can find in my collection Interludes. There is one other story, set in Rhianne’s own fantasy world, where most of her stories take place, but she won’t allow it to be published just yet. Hopefully one day…

I am grateful for having such a talented and generous family, and working on all the above stories was great fun. It’s just a shame I’ve used up all the available material… if there was more, I would be jumping at the chance to rewrite and rework it.

If you read any of the above books, I hope you enjoy them and appreciate that they are not my work alone. I had a lot of help 🙂