Tales from the Vatican Vaults

Tales from the Vatican Vaults


My short story, The Confession, was published earlier in the week in this new anthology from Constable and Robinson:

A captivating collection of original science fiction and fantasy stories based on the same alternate world premise: a collection of documents that have been suppressed by the Vatican and hidden away for years, in some cases centuries, are revealed when the vaults are thrown open by a reforming pope.

In this alternate reality, Pope John Paul (I) does not die a month after his accession in 1978; instead he lives on for over 30 years to become the most reforming pope of all time. In addition to relaxing the rules on birth control and priestly celibacy he also opens up the most secret parts of the Vatican Library to scholars . . .

In the Vatican’s deepest vaults, documents are discovered which shed new light on world history, containing information which, if true, would cause many parts of accepted history to have to be rewritten. These include not just the undercover involvement of the Catholic Church in world affairs, but documented accounts of what really happened in historical conundrums, the real lives of saints and popes, miracles, magic, angels and even alien encounters.

My story is set in 1889, and concerns the real identity of Jack the Ripper. Warning: expect a certain amount of gory unpleasantness.

Interestingly, family tree research shows I might be distantly related to Jack the Ripper’s fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, via my great-great-great-great-grandfather, John Eddowes, who was also from Wolverhampton . . .



Frozen Charlotte

Frozen Charlotte

This creepy thing is a Frozen Charlotte doll – and the inspiration behind my new YA horror novel, published later this year by Stripes Publishing. You can read the official announcement about their cool new Red Eye series here. I’m really pleased to be included in this launch because I loved reading Point Horror novels when I was a teenager – and when I re-read some of them to get in the mood, I found that I still enjoyed them as an adult.

The book will be called Frozen Charlotte and is scheduled for paperback release this September. It may cause nightmares. I don’t think it’s disturbing enough to make anyone have a nervous breakdown, but I guess it depends on how sensitive you are to that kind of thing. So, you know, if you’re at all worried about it then maybe read it with a friend or something. Better safe than sorry, after all.

I’ve also had a short story accepted for Constable and Robinson’s upcoming alternate history anthology – Tales from the Vatican Vaults (due for publication next year sometime) – in which the real truth behind various historical events is finally revealed after a lengthy Catholic Church cover-up. My contribution is about Jack the Ripper. It is quite nasty. So is Frozen Charlotte. In fact, people might try to suggest that this sort of fiction must be the product of a deranged mind – but I promise I’m still all there in the head and everything. There is no cause for alarm. And I’d prefer not to wear the straightjacket, if it’s all the same.

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An Anthology of Seven Deadly Sins

Oops – I don’t seem to have done very well at maintaining this blog recently. My new online boutique, Tickle and Pink, has taken up quite a lot of my time this year. It’s pretty cool. You should check it out:

Tickle and Pink logo

In the meantime, I have a new short horror story out in this awesome little anthology:

X7 Deadly Sins front cover

The X7 Deadly Sins anthology contains seven stories from different authors, each focusing on one of the seven deadly sins. My contribution is The Devil in Red and focuses on Wrath. I absolutely loved this as it took me back to my Ninth Circle days. There’s nothing quite like writing truly deranged characters with a whiff of religious fanaticism thrown in and lots of menace and blood. I loved it – and I can’t wait to read what the other writers came up with for the other sins.

I’m also working on another pretty exciting project at the moment, so watch this space.


The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women


Here is the suitably creepy front cover for the new ghost story anthology coming out from Constable and Robinson (last I heard, the publication date was 15th November in the UK, and January in the US), edited by the lovely Marie O’Regan. I have a little contribution in this – The Fifth Bedroom is my first ever published short story. I’m not usually much of a fan of short stories in general but I love a good ghost story and I’m looking forward to reading the others when the anthology is published. Ghost stories are better enjoyed in the winter, I think. I like reading them by a fire late at night whilst it rains outside. There should probably be hot chocolate, too.


The Fifth Bedroom was inspired by the servants’ bell-board in my aunt’s house. It’s one of those old fashioned ones with a little striped flag hanging down in each window, and it refers to a couple of bedrooms that no longer exist in the building. Babysitting there, late at night, after my cousin was already in bed, it occurred to me how freaked out I would be if a bell suddenly went off and I saw the flag moving in the window of one of the rooms that no longer exists. And, believe me, once that thought takes hold late at night, it don’t let go easy. That’s the problem with being a writer, I guess – you’re always thinking: what if this happened? How would I react? Would I grab a carving knife and charge upstairs to protect my sleeping cousin from any spectral intruder? Or would I leave her there and run screaming from the house, jump in my car and drive off without looking back? We shall never know.


But I enjoyed writing this story and am very much looking forward to the anthology coming out so that I can scare myself silly by reading the others in it the next time I happen be babysitting.  


Romantic Fiction Competition

Ever fancied writing a romance? Chapter One Promotions are holding a romantic fiction competition and they’ve asked me to judge it – which I am really looking forward to doing. I’ve judged children’s writing competitions before but never anything for adults – and as romance is one of my all-time favourite genres, I’m really looking forward to seeing what people come up with.

It costs £15.00 to enter and the prizes are £300, £150 and £50 plus publication in the Chapter One Promotions Anthology.

The deadline is this Saturday (31st March) at midnight so there’s still time to enter (but you have to get a move on!). The maximum word count is 5,000, and more rules and information can be found on the Chapter One website here: http://www.chapteronepromotions.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=528&Itemid=187

Here’s the description from Chapter One:

“Listen to your heart and remember those first tentative moments of falling in love for the first time. That intense feeling that you felt would consume you, those tender moments of secrets shared where it felt like your love was written in the stars.

Perhaps romance are those quiet moments of thoughtfulness that has built up over the years, where love is no longer a case of a faint blush on the cheeks but has matured gracefully into a steady stream of affection over the years.

Passion, memories, pain, adoration, longing and desire all make up wonderful elements to a story that can be complex, deep, meaningful, gentle, erosive.  Inspire us with love the old fashion way, or lead us into a tale of ardour in a modern world where tokens of affection are made using mobile phones and texts.

More importantly, make a statement with words entwined in tender possibilities that would make even an old cynic smile at the mere memory.”

So get writing – and good luck everyone!