Christmas on Q Island

Copy editors are excellent. They have the detail-oriented personality to read through a text, catch every typo, flag every incorrect reference, and erase any continuity errors. Their value cannot be underestimated and no book should EVER be sent out to the world without one.

Copy editors are also on the lookout for the publisher, keeping them from being legally entangled in some mess, especially a copyright issue. Q Island raised that red flag a number of times, all about the same thing.


The lead character, Melanie Bailey, has an autistic son, Aiden. His autism brings on terrible panic attacks, and Melanie can calm him by singing to him.

When he was still just two years old, before his diagnosis, Melanie and her husband didn’t know what to do to calm this poor, sleepless child who seemed in constant distress. Then a song came on the radio and Aiden just relaxed, relaxed enough to finally go to sleep after an exhausting day. Their prayer was answered. Since then, Melanie used that song to calm Aiden in the most stressful circumstances. The first time he heard it was in December. It was a Christmas carol. So Melanie sometimes sings a Christmas carol year round.

Well, every time she sings the song in the book, the copy editor comments stain the margins like spilled wine, reviewing all the dire consequences possible when this copyright violation comes to light after publication. The good news was that I already had permission to use the song. Because I wrote it. The lyrics for it anyway. They are:

Angels in heaven, look down on the child,

Perfect and lovely, tender and mild.

Shepherds that evening, tending their flocks,

Kneel without pain on nettles and rocks.

The rams and the ewes, surround him in awe.

First to acknowledge our Savior and Lord.

Wise men who travel, came from afar,

Guided by faith and the light of a star.


Okay, “awe” and “Lord” is a stretch for a rhyme.

I’m thrilled when someone reads a book I’ve written and says the characters ring true, or the locations are vivid and real. But I was stunned that I might have written something that could pass as real song lyrics.

So if anyone wants to volunteer the melody, I’m willing to bang out a chorus and two more verses. Let’s get it done by December.




A Visit from Hunter Shea

Hunter has been a friend since we both were in the initial crop of Samhain Horror authors to debut in 2011. His latest is Tortures of the Damned and he offered to give us all some insight into this latest terrifying treat. Who am I to refuse?


The Real Life Event Behind Tortures of the Damned

by Hunter Shea, Author


Back in late 2013, I spent a lot of time puzzling over the next book I was contracted to write for Pinnacle. The Montauk Monster was getting final edits before its print run in the summer of 2014. I was dead set on spinning an elaborate Bigfoot tale, one that I was sure had never been told before. Hell, I was ready to go travel and do some of my own squatching just to get a feel for things.
All that changed on a cold night in January.
My family was sitting in our living room, watching TV at around 10:30.
Suddenly, three tremendous explosions rocked the house! My first thoughts were – our furnace exploded, someone set off a bomb, or a plane exploded in the sky. The walls and floor literally shook. My kids were terrified, tears brimming in their eyes. I ran outside to see what had happened.
The frigid night air was as still as the calmest winter night. I waited. Neighbors came out to see what had happened. But there was nothing to see. We didn’t even hear a single siren.
Calls to 911 were answered by operators who were inundated by frightened people all across lower New York. We were told that the blast could be heard for a 50 mile radius. We all went to bed not knowing what the hell had happened. Even the news was silent. How was that even possible? When I say it sounded like a plane exploding, I’m not exaggerating.
The next day, the early news said someone had gotten hold of industrial fireworks and set them off in the Bronx. The lot they showed where they’d been set off looked to have zero damage. We’ve been suspicious ever since. In a few days, it slipped from our collective conscious. No one died, so why dwell on it?

There was one casualty. Bigfoot died that night. The fear my family experienced, the total lack of knowing what had happened was the seed for my latest book, Tortures of the Damned.
That night could have been much worse. Tortures of the Damned explores a world where the unthinkable happens when you least expect it. The damned are not the dead. It’s those left behind who are forced to trek through a hell they never saw coming.



You can purchase Tortures of the Damned in mass market paperback at more retail stores nationwide, as well as bookstores, both independent and chain.

You can also buy online at:


Barnes and Noble-

And there’s a giveaway here.



One of Those Milestones

In 4th grade, Pete, one of the cool kids, used to sneak Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine into school under the nuns’ radar. He’d hold court on the playground and boys would gather around for a glimpse of Gamera, Lugosi, and all the cool things our parents wished we would avoid. From cover to cover, I never ceased to be amazed.

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In this month’s FMoF issue, not only is my novel, Q ISLAND, advertised by Samhain Horror Horror, but it is the Editor’s Book Pick for the month. Better yet, it is right alongside a commemorative reissue of Phillip K. Dick, and follows last month’s selection of JG Faherty’s amazing THE CURE. Rare company indeed.

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There is something dumbfounding about being part of this FMoF universe, especially with such a nice write-up.

Famous Monsters Magazine 007


This author’s journey has taken me a lot of places I’d never though possible. Today it took me someplace I’d never considered at all. I mean, what’s more amazing than sharing copy space with Godzilla?

More Scary Tales From Catherine Cavendish

Catherine Cavendish writes some wonderful horror stories set in the United Kingdom. She likes to have a real life basis for many of the fictional stories she spins. She joins me here to share some background on her latest novel Dark Avenging Angel, which I loved.

The Legend of Sundel Bolong

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My latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways.

Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. One such character is Sundel Bolong and she belongs to Indonesian and Malaysian mythology.

Sundel Bolong is associated with prostitution. This was not a career she chose for herself, but one into which she was forced. She was beautiful, with long, cascading black hair. Just as well really, because this concealed a hole in her back, where she had given birth – in her grave no less. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she did not rest in peace and her ghost roamed the land, targetting men. Any that upset her could expect to find themselves castrated and some versions of this story have her exhibiting distinctly vampirish tendencies.

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She wafted through her undeath in a long, flowing white dress and, when the fancy took her, was able to transform back into human form. She would lure men with her beauty and promise of sexual favours before revealing herself as she truly was – suppurating, maggot-ridden and decayed. The horrified man would have just seconds to reflect on the sins of the flesh before she tore into his body’s most delicate parts. Not once did she relent or show mercy.

The story of the ‘Ghost With a Hole’ was handed down through oral tradition for generations and, along the way, developed multiple variations. These have been exploited in a number of Indonesian films, one of the most famous being Sundel Bolong made in 1981 and starring the late Suzzanna. This film has now taken on legendary – even cult – status.

One thing is for sure, if you are male and find yourself in Malaysia, beware of any beautiful women with long black hair who try and tempt you. You may get far more than you bargained for!

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Now, here’s the blurb for Dark Avenging Angel: 

Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.

Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.

When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.


And here’s a brief extract:

Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.

That night, my angel seemed different somehow.

Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.

She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.

I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?

She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head. Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.

I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.

I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.

Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?

Some things are better off left in the dark.

You can find Dark Avenging Angel here:


Samhain Publishing

Barnes and Noble 




About the author:

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Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows.  Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her novella – Dark Avenging Angel – will be published on August 4th and her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – will be released by Samhain in April 2016.

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish